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Critical Race Theory

Derrick Bell

Raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of working-class parents, Derrick Bell graduated from Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh law school, where he was the first African-American to gain membership to its prestigious law review. After graduating from law school, he worked for a number of law reform agencies, including the NAACP, then entered teaching at Harvard Law School in 1969, the first of his race to teach in a tenure-track capacity there. At the end of 1980, he left Harvard to assume the position of dean at University of Oregon Law School, the first black to lead a major, white-dominated law school in the United States. After leaving Oregon in protest over the faculty's refusal to hire a well-qualified Asian-American female professor, he returned to Harvard Law School, where he mentored students and young scholars across the country, helped found the critical race theory movement, and constantly pressed for liberalization of racial policies at his school. His persistent, heroic, sometimes quixotic struggles are recounted in two books and countless newspaper stories. An inspiration to two generations of lawyers and scholars, Bell taught as a permanent visiting professor at New York University law school in the early 2000s.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Cosine to Cyano groupCritical Race Theory - An Organization Forms, Spin-off Movements, Criticism, Methodology, Derrick Bell, Related Legal Movements