The Story Behind a Letter in Support of Professor Derrick Bell

11 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2016

See all articles by Cheryl Nelson-Butler

Cheryl Nelson-Butler

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Sherrilyn Ifill

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Suzette Malveaux

University of Colorado Law School

Margaret Montoya

University of New Mexico School of Law

Natsu Taylor Saito

Georgia State University College of Law

Nareissa L Smith

Florida Coastal School of Law

Tanya Washington

Georgia State University - College of Law

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Professor Derrick A. Bell, Jr. had a long and proud history of disturbing authority. He is widely noted as one of the founders of Critical Race Theory. His scholarship on race was not only a direct challenge to the traditionally conservative legal academy, but also to the more liberal bastions within the academy, such as the Critical Legal Studies movement. His writings about the role of race in American law have made him one of the most prominent legal scholars of a generation.

However, Professor Bell did not merely write about racial injustices. He was willing to take risks to promote racial equality and ideological balance in the legal academy. In 1980, he resigned his deanship at the University of Oregon School of Law after the faculty refused to honor his recommendation that an Asian-American woman, Pat K. Chew, be hired. In 1987, after returning to Harvard, Professor Bell staged a sit-in to protest the Law School’s failure to grant tenure to two white professors, Claire Dalton and David Trubek, whose work was aligned with the Critical Legal Studies movement.

Keywords: Derrick A. Bell Jr., Critical Race Theory, Critical Legal Studies

Suggested Citation

Nelson-Butler, Cheryl and Ifill, Sherrilyn and Malveaux, Suzette and Montoya, Margaret and Saito, Natsu Taylor and Smith, Nareissa L and Washington, Tanya, The Story Behind a Letter in Support of Professor Derrick Bell (2014). University of Pittsburgh Law Review, Vol. 75, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2712505

Cheryl Nelson-Butler

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States
2147682598 (Phone)
2147683142 (Fax)

Sherrilyn Ifill

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law ( email )

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States

Suzette Malveaux

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
2450 Kittredge Loop Road
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

Margaret Montoya (Contact Author)

University of New Mexico School of Law ( email )

1117 Stanford, N.E.
Albuquerque, NM New Mexico 87131
United States
505-345-6382 (Phone)

Natsu Taylor Saito

Georgia State University College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
United States

Nareissa L Smith

Florida Coastal School of Law ( email )

8787 Baypine Rd.
Jacksonville, FL 32256
United States

Tanya Washington

Georgia State University - College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
United States

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