Catholic University law school Professor Suzette Malveaux gave the keynote speech at the Southeast/Southwest People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Ala. The three-day conference drew minority law professors from all over the country to discuss the theme: “Transformative Advocacy, Scholarship, and Praxis: Taking Our Pulse” which examined the ways in which legal scholars are transforming institutional and external communities through advocacy, scholarship, and community engagement.
Approximately 100 legal scholars, practitioners, and law students attended. Professor Malveaux’s keynote address discussed the ways in which procedural mechanisms (such as pleadings, arbitration and particularly class actions) are impacting access to justice and the enforcement of civil rights.
She also spoke of the importance of carrying on the legacy of great civil rights leaders who have recently passed away—Professor Derrick Bell, the Hon. Robert Carter, and John Payton. Malveaux’s keynote address was called “powerful and inspiring” by conference chair Wendy Greene. Malveaux has lectured and published extensively in the area of civil rights, and for six years served as pro bono counsel to the plaintiffs in Alexander v. Oklahoma, a suit filed against Tulsa by victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot.
During the conference, panels debated such topics as Addressing Challenges in and to the Legal Academy; Forging and Responding to Change in Our Communities; and Actualizing Social and Economic Justice. The conference also sponsors a national student writing competition and opportunities for current and aspiring law professors to present their legal scholarship.
This was the first year the annual conference has been held in Birmingham, a symbolic choice for its role in the civil rights battles of the early 1960s. According to program materials, “Throughout the globe, Birmingham resonates as the epicenter of the modern civil rights movement for racial equality and justice.”