St. Paul, Minn. – Lani Guinier, the Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, will talk about “Rethinking Race & Class” as the 31st Mitau Endowed Lecturer at Macalester College, Thursday, March 22nd in Weyerhaeuser Memorial Chapel, 1600 Grand Ave., St. Paul. Her talk begins at 4:45 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Named in 1998 to a tenured professorship at Harvard Law School, the first woman of color so appointed, Lani Guinier’s distinguished career has included leadership of the voting rights project at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and public service in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Guinier received public attention when she was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993 to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, only to have her name withdrawn without a confirmation hearing. Guinier turned that incident into a powerful personal and political memoir, Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice.

Guinier has published many scholarly articles and books, including The Tyranny of the Majority (1994); Becoming Gentlemen: Women, Law School and Institutional Change (1997) (with co-authors Michelle Fine and Jane Balin); Who’s Qualified?: A New Democracy Forum on Creating Equal Opportunity in School and Jobs (2001) (with Susan Sturm); and The Miner’s Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy (2002) (co-authored with Gerald Torres). In her scholarly writings and in op-ed pieces, she has addressed issues of race, gender, and democratic decision-making, and sought new ways of approaching questions like affirmative action while calling for candid public discourse on these topics.

Guinier’s leadership on these important issues has been recognized with many awards, including the Champion of Democracy Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus; the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award from the ABA (American Bar Association) Commission on Women in the Profession; and the Rosa Parks Award from the American Association of Affirmative Action, and by ten honorary degrees, including those from Smith College, Spelman College, Swarthmore College and the University of the District of Columbia.

Her excellence in teaching was honored by the 1994 Harvey Levin Teaching Award from the graduating class at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the 2002 Sacks-Freund Award for Teaching Excellence from Harvard Law School.

Guinier was recently on the Tavis Smiley show talking about affirmative action and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to revisit that issue.

The annual G. Theodore Mitau Endowed Lecture honors the Minnesota scholar, educator and Macalester graduate and professor who emigrated to the U.S. from Nazi Germany in the 1930s. 

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,978 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement.  Learn more at

March 7 2012

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