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Students, Faculty to Honor Law School's Derrick Bell

By Katherine C. Mayer

Honoring 21 years of teaching and research in the field of law, students, faculty and alumni will pay tribute this weekend to Weld Professor of Law Derrick A. Bell.

The two-day symposium will feature speeches, panel discussions and a banquet in honor of the professor, known for his work on constitutional interpretation and political race theory.

"The mood of the event is to recognize Professor Bell's contributions and celebrate his significance as a scholar," said Assistant Professor of Law Charles J. Ogletree, who is organizing the event. "This symposium will be a critique of his written work and a testimony of his impact on young scholars."

Bell, Harvard's first tenured Black law professor, made national headlines in April by taking an unpaid leave of absence in protest of the Law School's refusal to tenure its first Black woman.

Scheduled events include a reception this evening at the Harvard Faculty Club and panel discussions all day Saturday. Panel guests from universities across the nation will focus on Bell's contributions to the field of law, Ogletree said.

As part of the event, Bell will be signing copies of his book And We Are Not Saved on Saturday.

The event will conclude with a banquet at the Royal Sonesta Hotel tomorrow evening featuring Larry Watson, a local musician.

Bell will also receive awards and recognition from the National Bar Association, Black Law Suits Association, National Conference of Black Lawyers, Society of Law Teachers, and Harvard Law School Black Alumni Organization, Ogletree said.

More than 100 students and alumni are expected to attend the event, with banquet tickets selling at $35 for students and $150 for non-students.

"Response has been enthusiastic," said Ogletree. "People all over the country are pleased that Professor Bell is receiving this recognition and are showing their support by their presence or by sending warm greetings."

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