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Yale’s Forman to deliver Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture

Jan. 15, 2015, 9:23 AM

James Forman Jr., a clinical professor of Law and supervising attorney at Yale Law School, is scheduled to deliver the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Lecture at Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Monday, Jan. 19.

James Forman Jr.

The address, “The Other America,” will be held at noon in 208 Light Hall.

Forman, the son of civil rights activist James Forman Sr., said his father laid the foundation for his career choice.

“In the late 80s I was not sure what my generation could do to make a difference in the area of civil rights,” said Forman. “It seemed that law was one of the ways that I could continue the fight for equality.

“Although we have moved beyond the signs of segregation, we have dramatic inequalities, and collectively we have an obligation to address these issues.”

Reflecting on his high school years, Forman said there is a problem when he can identify more people involved with the criminal justice system than have graduated from college.

His presentation will focus on the inequities of the criminal justice system.

In 1997 Forman co-founded an alternative school for children in the juvenile justice system in Washington D.C. Since its opening, the Maya Angelou Public Charter School has transformed the lives of the students. Since 2007, the program has expanded and now is operational within the D.C. juvenile prison.

“What is going to keep them out of the criminal justice system is education and for them to see that they have a real future,” said Forman.

At Yale Forman teaches Constitutional Law and a seminar on Race and the Criminal Justice System. He also runs a clinic called the Educational Opportunity and Juvenile Justice Clinic. He and his students represent young people facing expulsion from school for discipline violations and works to keep their clients in school and on track toward graduation.

The event is sponsored by Vanderbilt University’s Schools of Medicine and Nursing.

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