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Best-Selling Author Michelle Alexander to Speak on Racial Bias in the Criminal Justice System

PHILADELPHIA, April 26, 2013

Michelle Alexander
Award-winning author Michelle Alexander will speak at Drexel on May 6

Acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate and award-winning author Michelle Alexander will join Drexel University on Monday, May 6 from 6 – 9 p.m. for a discussion about racial bias in the criminal justice system. The event will take place in the Main Auditorium in Drexel’s Main Building (32nd and Chestnut Streets). A book signing and reception will follow the lecture.

The event is hosted by the Good Idea Fund, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Africana Studies program. Tickets are free and are available by registering here.

Alexander’s most recent book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, is an account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement.

Since its publication in 2010, the book has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for more than a year; been dubbed the “secular bible of a new social movement” by numerous commentators; and has led to consciousness-raising efforts in universities, churches, community centers, re-entry centers and prisons nationwide.

The New Jim Crow book coverIn the book, Alexander shows that by targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. The book, which features a foreword by Cornel West, was awarded the 2011 NAACP Image Award for best nonfiction.

Alexander has taught at a number of universities, including Stanford Law School, where she was an associate professor of law and directed the Civil Rights Clinics. In 2005, she won a Soros Justice Fellowship, which supported the writing of The New Jim Crow, and that same year she accepted a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University.

Prior to entering academia, Alexander served as the director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California, where she coordinated the Project’s media advocacy, grassroots organizing, coalition building and litigation. In addition to her nonprofit advocacy experience, Alexander has worked as a litigator at private law firms including Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak & Baller, in Oakland, Ca., where she specialized in plaintiff-side class-action lawsuits alleging race and gender discrimination. Alexander is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Vanderbilt University.

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