[Blackstudies-l] Geneseo King Commemoration

Emilye Crosby crosby at geneseo.edu
Tue Jan 15 14:33:29 EST 2013

Rita and Bill Bender will give Geneseo's Martin Luther King Commemoration Keynote on Monday, April 1st, 7pm in the College Union Ballroom, with a particular focus on educational inequality, historically and today. 
Bill Bender was an investigator for the New Jersey Civil Rights Division prior to attending law school.  He is a 1968 graduate of Rutgers University School of Law.  He practiced at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, where he was one of the attorneys for the New York City Demonstration School Districts, and the investigation of the murder of Fred Hampton in Chicago.  Returning to Rutgers, he co-directed the Constitutional Litigation Clinic, and taught Civil Procedure courses.

Upon moving to Seattle, Bill was a Federal Public Defender prior to joining the law firm where he has practiced since 1979.  In 2009-2010, Bill and Rita were visiting professors at the University of Mississippi Law School, where they taught a course addressing the deliberate denial of education, and worked through the William Winter Institute on Racial Reconciliation with community groups.

Rita Bender went to Meridian, Mississippi in January 1964 as Congress of Racial Equality field staff with COFO, during which she worked in development of a community center, a precursor to the Freedom Schools, and voting rights denials in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party challenge.  Rita is also a 1968 Rutgers University law graduate.  She taught in one of the earliest poverty law clinics established at a law school, at Rutgers and thereafter served as a public defender in New Jersey and in Seattle.  She was the Regional Director of the Legal Services Corporation during the Carter administration, and went into the private practice of law in 1982.

Both Rita and Bill understand that as a nation, we cannot move forward to address the inequities which exist, if we do not understand our history.  They believe that we must understand where we have been to chart the course forward to where we must go.

This event is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Africana/ Black Studies Program, the Xerox Center for Multicultural Teacher Education, and the Office of Multicultural Programming and Services.

Emilye Crosby
History Department
1 College Circle
Geneseo, NY 14454
(585) 245-5375 (office phone)
crosby at geneseo.edu

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