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Donald F. Tibbs

Director of the American Bar Association Legal Education Police Practices Consortium Fellowship Program

Professor of Law

Donald Tibbs


Office: School of Law, Room 270
Phone: 215.571.4726

Administrative Support:
Tiffany Adams
Phone: 215.571.4802


Professor Tibbs is a scholar and an activist for racial and social justice, human rights, and the right of the people to live with dignity as constitutional citizens. His research interests generally include Race and the Law formed through his knowledge of African American Legal History; Crime and Punishment; Critical Race Theory; and Hip Hop and Popular Culture. He is the author of From Black Power To Prison Power: The Making Of Jones V. North Carolina Prisoners’ Labor Union (Palgrave MacMillan 2012), which examines law, Black power and the prisoners’ rights movement from the 1960s-1980s. He also co-edited Hip Hop And The Law (2015), which features some of the best legal scholarship that demonstrates law’s intersection with hip hop music and culture. He is currently writing his third book Unapologetically Black: How Policing Has Re-Shaped The American Constitution . . . And Why It Matters To Black America.

Beyond his book manuscripts, Professor Tibbs’s scholarly articles appear in the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal; the Seattle Journal of Social Justice; the Southern University Journal of Race, Gender, and Poverty; the Georgetown Journal of New Critical Race Perspectives; the Iowa Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice; the Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice; the Washington University Journal of Public Policy; and the law reviews at Temple, Widener, and Mercer law schools respectively.

He also speaks to numerous news media on emerging stories on race and the law in America including Fresh Outlook, the Bill O’Reilly Factor, and National Public Radio’s WHYY Radio Times. He is a regular on James Peterson’s The Remix podcast on WHYY Radio. He was named the Time Magazine Quote of the Day, as one of the top three quotes in the country on his commentary on the Supreme Court decision on GPS tracking in Jones v. United States (2012); and in 2018, he was named the Outstanding Graduate Alumni of the Arizona State University’s School of Justice and Social Transformation for his contributions to the pursuit of social justice and civil rights.

Professor Tibbs was the awarded the 2021 Academic Leadership Award by the Hispanic Bar Foundation for his work on race and justice in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder.

Previously, he has taught at St. Thomas University School of Law, Arizona State University, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and the Southern University Law Center where he was an assistant professor of law and the director of the Institute for Civil Rights and Justice.

Professor Tibbs received his juris doctorate (JD) from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Following law school he worked as a civil rights and criminal defense attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina. After law practice, he obtained his doctor of philosophy (PhD) from Arizona State University in the School of Justice and Social Inquiry where his research focused on race and law in legal history and popular culture. At Arizona State University he was a Graduate College Academic Support Fellow (GCASF), a Preparing Future Faculty Fellow (PFF), and named the Arizona State University Sheila S. Skipper Outstanding Graduate Student.

Following his doctoral studies, Professor Tibbs was twice a fellow at the University of Wisconsin Law School where he was a J. Willard Hurst Summer Institute Fellow in Legal History and the William H. Hastie Law Teaching Fellow where he completed his Master’s of Laws (LLM) degree. He was the Harry S. Golden Civil Rights Research Fellow at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, a recipient of the prestigious Drexel University Career Development Grant, and twice the recipient of the Dean Jennifer L. Rosato Excellence in the Classroom Award at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law. In Spring 2012, he taught the first course on Hip Hop and the Law ever offered at an American law school, where scholars traveled from around the world to discuss the intersection of Hip Hop and the Law with law students. The course was a feature story in the American Bar Association Journal.


LLM, University of Wisconsin Law School
PhD, Arizona State University
JD, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
BS, Georgia State University


Curriculum Vitae [PDF]


  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Race & The Law
  • Hip Hop & The Law

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