Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1988

Disciplines

Civil Rights and Discrimination | Education Law | Law | Law and Race | Legal Education

Abstract

It is both an honor and a pleasure to write the Foreword for this issue of the National Black Law Journal. This project represents the culmination of a joint effort involving the NBLJ, Dean Susan Westerberg Prager and me. The project grew out of discussions that began in the Spring of 1987 in which we explored various ways that the law school could support the production of publishable student material for the Journal. I initially considered sponsoring interested students in independent research projects; however, a high level of student interest, an obvious overlap between proposed student topics, and my own interest in developing alternative pedagogical strategies combined to make a seminar the most attractive option.

After receiving suggested themes for the proposed issue from Journal members, I attempted to develop a seminar that would reflect our substantive interests and that would also be responsive to some of the problems that I believe confront minority students in traditional classrooms. The seminar that resulted – "Minority Voting Rights and Majoritarian Domination" – reflected an effort to further three interrelated objectives: 1) to explore the successes and failures of the legal strategies developed to address political disenfranchisement on the basis of race; 2) to create an environment that presented an alternative to the traditional classroom experiences of minority students in majority-centered law schools; and 3) to provide a support structure specifically designed to produce publishable student material. In this Foreword, I will sketch my own view of some of the difficulties confronting minorities in the classroom and explain how the seminar was developed to address them. These views are impressions based on recollections and experiences that I have gathered from observing classroom dynamics from both sides of the law school podium. Although none of these ideas are based on empirical research, I hope nonetheless that they provide a basis for interpreting the seminar and that they may perhaps offer some ideas for further discussion.

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