Civil rights lawyer-author to discuss race, prisons


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Civil rights lawyer, professor and author Michelle Alexander will talk about what she describes as the “mass incarceration” of African Americans during the fifth annual Anne Braden Memorial Lecture Nov. 10 at the University of Louisville.

    Her free, public talk is titled “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” which also is the title of her 2010 book. Alexander’s lecture will begin at 6 p.m. in the Speed Art Museum, 2035 S. Third St. Parking is available for $4 in the adjacent garage.

    UofL’s Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research sponsors the lecture; both are named for a Louisvillian active in the civil rights movement for nearly six decades.

    Alexander, who has a joint appointment with The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, formerly was director of the Civil Rights Clinic at Stanford University Law School and director of the Racial Justice Project for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. With the ACLU, she helped lead a national campaign against racial profiling by law enforcement.

    Her book won the NAACP Image Award for outstanding nonfiction and the American Political Science Association#8217;s Michael Harrington Best Book Award for an academic book with the potential to mobilize change on pressing social and political issues.

    In her book, Alexander argues that the high percentage of African Americans in prisons, especially through the War on Drugs, has created a new racial underclass, and that felons experience the old forms of discrimination. She recommends that civil rights advocates working for racial justice should put mass incarceration at the movement’s forefront. “The New Jim Crow” has been featured on “Bill Moyers Journal,” “Tavis Smiley,” “C-SPAN Washington Journal” and National Public Radio.

    The Anne Braden Institute also is promoting discussion groups using Alexander’s book; for a book kit or more details, contact the institute at 502-852-6142.

    For more information or to interview Alexander, call Amber Duke at the institute, 502-852-6142, or visit

    Judy Hughes
    Judy Hughes is a senior communications and marketing coordinator for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing and associate editor of UofL Magazine. She previously worked in news as a writer and editor for a daily newspaper and The Associated Press.