The daughter of American civil rights activists, Professor Doris “Wendy” Greene is a trailblazing U.S. anti-discrimination law scholar, teacher, and advocate who has devoted her professional life’s work to advancing racial, color, and gender equity in workplaces and beyond. Professor Greene is the first tenured African American woman law professor at Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law and the Director of the law school's Center for Law, Policy, and Social Action. Her award-winning legal scholarship and public advocacy, which illuminate how constructions of identity inform and constrain anti-discrimination law, have generated civil rights protections for countless individuals who experience discrimination in various spheres.
A visionary, she is the architect of two new legal constructs recognized within anti-discrimination law theory and praxis: “misperception discrimination” and “grooming codes discrimination.” Her internationally recognized publications in these areas have shaped the enforcement stance of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), administrative law judges, federal courts, and civil rights organizations in civil rights cases. The 11th Circuit and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals endorsed Professor Greene’s published definition of race as a legal authority on the social construction of race and as a practicable definition for constitutional decision-making respectively.
Additionally, the definition of race she proposed in her 2008 article, “Title VII: What’s Hair (and Other Race-Based Characteristics) Got to Do with It?”, (republished in 2021) is being adopted in history-making state and federal legislation known as the C.R.O.W.N. Acts (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Acts): the first laws in the nation to expressly recognize race discrimination is inclusive of the systemic discrimination African descendants encounter based upon their natural and protective hairstyles such as afros, twists, locs, and braids.
Teen Vogue, Now This News, BBC World News, The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, World Afro Day, among others have celebrated Professor Greene for her instrumental role in increasing public awareness around as well as securing legal redress for grooming codes discrimination—from serving as a legal advisor and expert in civil rights cases challenging natural hair discrimination, co-drafting federal and state level C.R.O.W.N. Acts, testifying in support of this legislation throughout the country, delivering public lectures around the world, to publishing seminal work which has informed, to date, every key legal pronouncement in the U.S. that natural hair discrimination is race discrimination. One of the nation’s leading legal experts on this global civil rights issue and founder of the #FreeTheHair campaign, she is currently writing her first book, #FreeTheHair: Locking Black Hair to Civil Rights Movements, under contract with the University of California, Berkeley Press.
Professor Greene has earned national and institutional awards for her impactful civil rights scholarship and advocacy. In 2014, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine named Greene one of 12 “Emerging Scholars.” In 2015, Professor Greene’s article, Categorically Black, White, or Wrong: “Misperception Discrimination” and the State of Title VII Protection, was conferred the Law and Society Association John Hope Franklin Prize celebrating exceptional scholarship in the field of race, racism, and the law. In 2022, Professor Greene was honored by the Association of American Law Schools as an inaugural recipient of the Deborah L. Rhode Award, which “recognizes someone who has great potential to make a mark during their careers as evidenced by their work that brings a novel perspective or call to action in legal education or the legal profession.” Since joining the Drexel Kline Law faculty in 2019, she has also twice earned the law school’s DIVEIn Champion of Diversity Award, which celebrates “an individual who demonstrates diversity, inclusion and cultural competency in the law school and the legal community by promoting equal opportunity in race, religion, culture, and sexual identification and expression.”
A dynamic teacher and scholar, Greene has inaugurated two Scholar in Residence programs at the University of California-Irvine School of Law’s Center on Law, Equality, and Race (CLEaR) in 2018 and at St. Thomas University School of Law (Miami) in 2014. Additionally, she has served as: a Scholar in Residence at Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 2015; the Frances Lewis Scholar in Residence at Washington and Lee University School of Law (Fall 2019); a Visiting Professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law (Spring 2019); and a Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa and the University of Kentucky Colleges of Law.
Prior to joining the Drexel Kline Law faculty, Professor Greene was a faculty member at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law (Birmingham, Alabama) from 2007-2012. At Cumberland, she likewise made institutional history as one of the youngest women and women of color to attain tenure and full professorship and earned multiple awards for excellence in teaching and scholarship. Professor Greene teaches several courses in the law school curriculum: Constitutional Law, Employment Law, Employment Discrimination, Equitable Remedies, Real Property and seminars on Race and American Law, Critical Race Theory, as well as Appearance and Grooming Codes Discrimination in the Workplace.
Professor Greene frequently provides legal commentary to media outlets such as The Washington Post, PBS News, BBC News, NBC News, ABC News and the New York Times. One of few U.S. legal academics engaged in the study of comparative slavery and race relations in the Americas and Caribbean, she, too, is a highly sought-after speaker and consultant, having traveled and delivered hundreds of lectures throughout the United States and across four continents in addition to advising private, public, and non-profit organizations on myriad matters related to civil and human rights, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Within the realm of higher education, Greene has delivered keynote addresses or endowed lectures for numerous institutions such as Howard University School of Law, Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, University of Texas Law School, Northwestern University, Tulane University School of Law, University of Alabama, Washington and Lee University, Louisiana State University, McGill University Faculty of Law (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), University of South Carolina, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Southwestern Law School, and St. John’s University School of Law Center for Race and Law.
Deeply devoted to public and professional service, Professor Greene serves as a Co-Chair of the African American Affairs Committee for the American Bar Association Civil Rights and Social Justice (CRSJ) and as the CRSJ Section Liaison for the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Legal Profession. Additionally, she is the Secretary of the AALS Section on Constitutional Law and a member of: the Editorial Board of the Race and Law Prof Blog; the Executive Board of the AALS Section on Employment Discrimination; the Executive Board of the AALS Section Labor Relations and Employment Law; the Editorial Board of the Employee Rights and Employment Law Policy Journal housed at Chicago-Kent College of Law; and the Lutie Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Writing Workshop Program Planning Committee.
Greene is a past chair of the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education and the AALS Section on Labor Relations and Employment Law and has previously served on: the ACLU of Alabama Board of Directors; the 2015 American Society for Legal History Program Committee; the Birmingham Civil Rights Summer Voting Rights Series Steering Committee; the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Human Rights Symposium Community Advisory Committee; the National Bar Association Law Professors Division Executive Committee; the National Chair’s Education Task Force for the National Black Law Students Association; and the Southeast/Southwest People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference Executive Committee.
A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Professor Greene is a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana (B.A. cum laude with Honors in English and a double-minor in African American Studies and Spanish); Tulane University School of Law (J.D.); and The George Washington University School of Law (LL.M.).