Community Engagement

Events & Lectures


Derrick Bell Lecture

Professor Lia Epperson

2021 Derrick Bell Lecture
February 12, 2021

“Are We Still Not Saved? Race, Democracy, and Educational Inequality.” 

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American University Washington College of Law Professor Lia Epperson spoke at the annual Derrick Bell Lecture on February 12, 2021.

Professor Epperson is a nationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights, constitutional law, and education policy. Her scholarship centers on the constitutional dialogue between federal courts and the political branches, and its implications for educational equity. 

Epperson’s research, published in leading journals, also explores the role of public schools, colleges, and universities in creating equal opportunity. As a former Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, her previous work focused on federal civil rights enforcement of educational policies and practices. Her expertise has led her to appear on CNN, NBC News, and C-SPAN.

Derrick Bell served as the first African American dean of the School of Law from 1980 to 1985. He is considered one of the most influential voices in the foundation of Critical Race Theory, a framework that examines society and culture as they connect to race, law, and power. 

The event was a collaborative effort combining the School of Law’s Derrick Bell Lecture with the African American Workshop and Lecture Series, sponsored by the Office of the President and facilitated by the Division of Equity and Inclusion.


Past Bell Lectures

2020 Derrick Bell Lecture


Rennard Strickland Lecture 

Mary Kathryn Nagle at the Annual Rennard Strickland Lecture 2019

2019 Annual Rennard Strickland Lecture

"Tribal Sovereignty: The Origins of Environmental Law"

Mary Kathryn Nagle, a member of the Cherokee Nation and a partner at Pipestem Law, a firm that specializes in the sovereignty rights of tribal governments, spoke on the intersection of environmental law and tribal sovereignty. 

Watch the 13th Annual Rennard Strickland Lecture


Bankruptcy and Race: A Conversation with Professor A. Mechele Dickerson 

A. Michele Dickerson

The Business Law Program welcomed Professor A. Mechele Dickerson, the Arthur L. Moller Chair in Bankruptcy Law and Practice at the University of Texas at Austin, for a noon-hour discussion about racial inequities in the bankruptcy system, including how Black debtors who need bankruptcy relief are disproportionately placed in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is more expensive and burdensome than Chapter 7.

Mechele Dickerson, a nationally recognized scholar on consumer debt, teaches at the University of Texas School of Law and also has a courtesy appointment with the Liberal Arts Honors program at the University of Texas. She is the author of HOMEOWNERSHIP AND AMERICA'S FINANCIAL UNDERCLASS: FLAWED PREMISES, BROKEN PROMISES, NEW PRESCRIPTIONS (Cambridge 2014). Her research focuses on racial income and wealth disparities and she is currently completing a book project on the Neglected Middle Class.

Dickerson teaches Remedies and Federal Civil Procedure at UT Law and is teaching a course this spring on COVID and Financially Vulnerable Americans (which she will teach to undergraduates this fall). Dickerson will also teach a class on COVID and The Law at the law school this fall. Before joining the Texas law faculty, Dickerson was a law faculty member at the College of William and Mary.

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