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Bestselling author, civil rights advocate, and associate professor of law at Ohio State University, Michelle Alexander, will speak at UT on January 22.

Alexander’s talk focuses on the topics addressed in her influential book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Free and open to the public, her talk will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Cox Auditorium in the Alumni Memorial Building.

Alexander argues in her book that the rights won by African-Americans in the American civil rights movement are being taken away via the War on Drugs and the decimation of communities of color.

Rights fought for in the civil rights movement, like the right to serve on a jury and the right to vote, can be legally taken away from anyone with a criminal record. Alexander’s lecture will explain how this affects African-Americans, especially those who have been incarcerated.

“Alexander takes pieces of things we’ve heard before and compiles them into a constellational argument … she connects all the previous arguments to answer why we see so many African-Americans incarcerated,” said Bertin Louis Jr., the event’s organizer and assistant professor of anthropology and Africana studies at UT.

“This is an important issue that we need to raise awareness about to create a more equitable American society,” Louis said. “You’re going to hear a premier intellectual speak, and she is going to make a very strong argument.”

The lecture is sponsored by UT’s Africana Studies program and co-sponsored by the Haines-Morris Endowment Fund, Ready for the World, UT College of Law, the Anthropology and Sociology departments, and the Center for the Study of Social Justice.

For more information on Alexander’s book, visit

C O N T A C T :

Bertin Louis (865-974-4408,

Christine Copelan (