Race and Justice in America preview

K. Rambo

The 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Series Keynote will be Bryan Stevenson presenting “Race and Justice in America.”

Stevenson, the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, will lecture at 8 p.m. on Monday in the Great Hall in the Memorial Union.

The lecture will focus on the legal system and how it affects people of color differently in the United States. Stevenson is a Harvard alumnus and public interest lawyer who has spent his career challenging disproportionate sentencing for people of color.

Stevenson will also focus on the Equal Justice Initiative’s Lynching in America Project, as well as discussing an imperative effort of acknowledging and addressing racial terror in the United States by focusing on lynchings following the formal end of slavery.

An interactive website at lynchinginamerica.eji.org opens with a brief description that reads “This site features painful stories of America’s history of racial injustice. In order to heal the deep wounds of our present, we must face the truth of our past.

“After slavery was formally abolished, lynching emerged as a vicious tool of racial control to reestablish white supremacy and suppress black civil rights. More than 4,000 African Americans were lynched across twenty states between 1877 and 1950.

“These lynchings were public acts of racial terrorism, intended to instill fear in entire black communities. Government officials frequently turned a blind eye or condoned the mob violence.

“The effects of racial terror lynchings are still felt today.”

Stevenson released his critically-acclaimed memoir, “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” in 2014 detailing his history as an idealistic young lawyer discovering systematic disparities for the underrepresented people in society.

To be released on March 6, 2018, Stevenson co-authored a book with Sherrilyn Ifill, Loretta Lynch and Anthony C. Thompson titled “A Perilous Path: Talking Race, Inequality, and the Law.”

Described on Amazon as a “blisteringly candid discussion of the American dilemma in the age of Trump,” Stevenson teamed up with the esteemed list of authors to examine current race relations and the causes of divisions and inequality in the United States.

Lynch was the Attorney General under President Obama from 2015 until 2017, Ifill is the director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and Anthony C. Thompson has been a law professor at New York University for more than 20 years where he founded the Center on Race, Inequality and the Law.