Pass The Torch: Derrick Bell
Lawyer, activist, teacher and writer, Derrick Bell is a compelling voice on issues of race and class in our society. He has published several books and articles and is best known for his series of allegorical stories featuring his fictional heroine, Geneva Crenshaw. In "Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism," "Space Traders" was filmed as an episode of the HBO film trilogy, Cosmic Slop.
Derrick Bell joins us for a rare screening of the film "Space Traders", directed by Reginald Hudlin. "Space Traders" is an episode of the Cosmic Slop HBO Special, which was broadcast only once. Subsequently, every major video retail chain refused to distribute this program. Despite this, Cosmic Slop has generated a cult following in the Black and Latino community. "Space Traders" was based on a Derrick Bell short story that appeared in Faces at the Bottom of the Well. It is a story about what happens when extraterrestrials offer to solve all of America's gravest problems in exchange for all of its African-American citizens. Following the screening, Derrick Bell previews and discusses the unpublished next chapter to this story.
Derrick Bell is a compelling voice on issues of race and class in this society. Throughout his 40-year career as a lawyer, activist, teacher, and writer, he has provoked his critics and challenged his readers with his uncompromising candor and original progressive views. Bell is best known as the first tenured black professor at the Harvard Law School, a position he gained in 1971, and relinquished in 1992, when he refused to return from a two-year, unpaid leave of absence he took to protest the absence of women of color on the faculty. He is currently a visiting professor at the NYU Law School.
Bell has published several books and many articles and is best known for the series of allegorical stories featuring his fictional heroine, Geneva Crenshaw. Those titles are: And We are Not Saved; Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism; Gospel Choirs: Psalms of Survival in an Alien Land Called Home; and, most recently, Afrolantica Legacies.
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Derrick Bell has held positions at the following institutions:
New York University Law School (visiting professor since 1991)
Harvard Law School (1971-1992, first tenured black professor)
University of Oregon Law School
Western Center on Law and Poverty at the University of Southern California Law School (Executive Director)
NAACP Legal Defense Fund (Counsel)
Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (Deputy Director)
A.B. Duquesne University, 1952
L.L.B. University of Pittsburgh Law School, 1957
Tougaloo College, 1983
Northeastern Law School, 1984
Teacher of the Year Award by Society of American Law Schools, 1985
Mercy College, 1988
Allegheny College, 1989
Pace Law School, 1996
Books Written BY Derrick Bell:
Civil Rights: Leading Cases (Aspen Law & Business, 1980)
And We Are Not Saved: The Elusive Quest for Racial Justice (Basic Books, 1989)
Race, Racism and American Law 3rd edition (Little Brown & Co., 1992)
Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism (Basic Books, 1992)
Confronting Authority: Reflections of an Ardent Protestor (Beacon Press, 1995)
Gospel Choirs: Psalms of Survival in an Alien Land Called Home (Basic Books, 1996)
Age of Segregation (Books on Demand, 1996)
Constitutional Conflicts (Anderson Press, April 1997)
Afrolantica Legacies (Third World Press, 1998)