Campus & Community

New HLS institute to explore race, justice

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Charles Hamilton Houston Institute opens today

Jesse Climenko Professor of Law Charles J. Ogletree Jr., the founding and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice (CHHI) at Harvard Law School (HLS), has announced that the institute’s official opening will take place today (Sept. 15).


To celebrate the opening, a program dedicated to the life and accomplishments of Charles Hamilton Houston will be held today at HLS. The program will include such noted speakers as members of Houston’s family, the lawyers who litigated the Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954, and scholars, practitioners, and historians. Cornel West, University Professor of Religion at Princeton University, will give the keynote address.

CHHI will welcome New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse as a guest speaker on Saturday (Sept. 17) at 2:30 p.m. in Langdell Hall North, Harvard Law School. A Supreme Court correspondent for the Times since 1978, Greenhouse was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1998. Following her talk, she’ll sign copies of her recently published biography of Justice Harry A. Blackmun, ‘Becoming Justice Blackmun.’ This event is free and open to the public. Call (617) 496-2054 to reserve a seat.

Housed at HLS, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice is a new interdisciplinary research program that will explore the myriad of complex issues relating to race and justice. The institute is named in honor of a visionary lawyer who spearheaded the litigation in Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark case that ended segregation in public schools. Houston, a 1922 HLS graduate, and the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review, also trained Justice Thurgood Marshall and Oliver Hill – pivotal players in the case – when they were students at Howard Law School.

The mission of CHHI is to carry forth the legacy of Charles Hamilton Houston by identifying and defining the civil rights agenda for the coming generation and providing social science research and legal advocacy necessary to recognize and address the most pressing areas of racial inequality. The institute will focus primarily on civil and criminal law areas, with a special emphasis on issues of voting rights, the future of affirmative action, and the criminal justice system.