We Proudly Support and Partner with the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center At the Howard University School of Law
Meeting Today’s Challenge
We have reached a watershed moment under the current framework of civil rights and advocacy. The United States Constitution is not always enough to protect the fundamental freedoms of individuals and creating effective strategies to combat social injustice also requires an appreciation for the principles of universal human rights.
Howard University School of Law educators and practitioners have always understood the interplay of civil and human rights at Howard University School of Law. It was the first law school to offer a civil rights curriculum, and the coursework offered included an international human rights perspective. The Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center seeks to expand our understanding of rights to include the universal rights of freedom, equal justice, dignity, and human welfare.
Blue and Black Partnership plans to work closely with the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center. Our goal is to meet the human rights challenges presented by the present moment through advocacy, scholarship, and organizing.
The Center’s advocacy efforts include the championing of civil and human rights by providing litigation support, policy intervention, and providing research for advocacy campaigns and promoting other community-led initiatives. Our Human and Civil Rights Clinic plays a significant role in our advocacy efforts. Students receive hands-on training in federal and state litigation, advocate before international human rights tribunals, and utilize these mechanisms to support movements for social change. Students are working at the forefront of some of the most pressing civil and human rights issues of today. They are dealing with issues of police brutality, racial justice, mass incarceration, unconstitutional prison conditions, and other concerns that implicate core constitutional and human rights.
The Center is a repository for research and intellectual engagement on human and civil rights. We are fostering rigorous debate on the social justice issues of the day. Central to this goal is our work in conjunction with the Human and Civil Rights Law Review. This student-led organization publishes the scholarly works of leading human and civil rights scholars and practitioners. The HCR Law Review hosts the annual C. Clyde Ferguson Jr. Lecture, named for the former dean of Howard University School of Law and noted human and civil rights scholar. As we move forward, the Center plans to regularly bring together national and international scholars at conferences and debates share ideas, inspire new knowledge, and inform our practice.
Our organizing effort accomplishes two goals: engaging community stakeholders to ensure that our advocacy is driven by grassroots organizing in a bottom-up fashion, and training the next generation of community organizers. The cornerstone of these efforts is the Human and Civil Rights Law and Organizing Collaborative, a newly formed student organization at Howard University. The Collaborative is an opportunity for all Howard students to train in community organizing, collaborate with community organizations, and work on public education campaigns.
From Reconstruction to the passage of federal civil rights legislation of the 1960s, the United States saw significant gains in the struggle for political, legal and social rights of African Americans and other minority groups. During this period, Howard University School of Law educators and alumni like Thurgood Marshall, Pauli Murray, Charles Hamilton Houston and C. Clyde Ferguson Jr., challenged injustices under the law through civil rights litigation and sparked social movements that fought for equality and human dignity.
At the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard University School of Law, we recognize the strides that were made by the civil rights movement but appreciate that there is still significant work to be done. Systemic injustice is deeply entrenched within the educational, criminal justice, and political systems in the United States. Added to this, we are currently witnessing the rolling back of the civil rights protections for which our leaders fought, and an increase in state-sanctioned human rights violations.
With concerns growing over these human and civil rights rollbacks, we also see the growth of social movements that galvanize communities into collective action to fight back against growing injustice and threats against human rights. As movements like Black Lives Matter and the movement to end mass incarceration evolve, there is an increasing need for highly trained lawyers to collaborate with and support their efforts.
The Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center is uniquely qualified to immediately take on the challenges of today by building on Howard Law’s legacy, creating new and innovative ways to address modern civil rights issues and support
The Next 150
Howard University School of Law opened its doors in 1869 with a mission to empower newly freed citizens to secure their fundamental freedoms and became the premier law school for educating African American lawyers. Following its mission, Howard was the first law school in the United States to offer training in civil rights law. From the beginning, law professors at Howard understood that their struggle for was for more than just rights granted under the Constitution; recognizing that there was a broader fight for freedom, equality, and human welfare, civil rights courses were informed by an appreciation for international human rights law. Soon, Howard University School of Law was at the forefront of the struggle for the liberation from racial injustice.
The Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center was established in 2018 to play a significant role in the fight for racial justice. With pride, we take inspiration from the work of Thurgood Marshall and other notable civil rights leaders like Charles Hamilton Houston and Pauli Murray, who worked and trained at Howard University School of Law. Our unique institution provided the perfect incubator for those most impacted by racial injustice to offer thought leadership on civil rights law and build strategies to address the harms of racism and inequality.
At the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center, we are working to free communities from racial injustice and to uplift community-led movements. We use law, policy, and scholarship to advocate for the universal implementation of human rights. By doing this work, we are building on the legacy of Howard University School of Law and leveraging the strength of its mission to solve the human and civil rights challenges of today and train the next generation of social justice engineers.