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CRSJ Council Meeting

2018 CRSJ Fall Council Meeting

Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma, Alabama

2018 CRSJ Fall Section Council Meeting

2018 CRSJ Fall Section Council Meeting

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Section Leadership Commentary

As an African-American civil rights attorney, I am well aware of the past and present adversities surrounding race and injustice in this country.  My visit to the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice with my CRSJ colleagues highlighted how the legacy of slavery and lynching is embedded in my DNA; it actually shapes the decisions and choices I make for myself every day. The more we all realize how this history will continue to affect generations of Americans of all racial backgrounds in various ways, the more we can authentically confront the current problem of race-based injustice in this country, and we can work to resolve it together.

--Angela J. Scott, Section Secretary

I was profoundly moved by my visit to the historic sites of the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement.  To stand behind the pulpit of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church from which Dr. Martin Luther King preached, and to visit his office in the basement where he helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott, were transformative experiences for me.

-- John L. McDonnell, Jr., Council Member

The American Bar Association's Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice's Fall meeting in Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma, Alabama was an incredibly powerful experience that I will forever cherish. As an African-American woman lawyer, I was overjoyed to have the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of what my ancestors endured so that I could become who I am today. I continue to be inspired by the thoughtful leadership and vision of the ABA CRSJ Chair, Wilson Schooley and it was such a treat to have the illustrious ABA President-Elect Judy Perry Martinez join us for the meeting. I am honored to serve on the ABA CRSJ Council.

-- Melanie E. Bates, Council Member

The Alabama meeting was a truly moving experience. Deep in the historical center of the slave trade, civil rights marches, lynchings, and Jim Crow, we heard the voices of past and contemporary victims, inspiring everyone to bend Martin Luther King Jr.’s arc of history faster toward justice. Today’s CRSJ can and will fight to remove modern Jim Crow laws like selective incarceration and voter suppression.

-- Wendy K. Mariner, Section Vice Chair

I found the CRSJ Fall Meeting in Alabama very moving. I thought I knew Civil Rights history in the USA, but this trip showed me that I really didn’t. It took being there and speaking with people there to bring home the enormity of the injustices that befell and still befall the African Americans in this country. I’m so grateful to be a part of an organization dedicated to making a difference in this area.

-- Beth K. Whittenbury, Council Member & Committee Chair

One of the many striking images in the museums we visited was the children, inside wire cages, hands raised in a plea for freedom and justice. In the 1950s and 1960s, and now, in the immigration detention centers especially across our southern border. It is heartbreaking and infuriating to see our country going backwards.

-- Virginia Sloan, Committee Division Director

I was stunned to learn that the Edmund Pettus Bridge, named after a Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan, represents a rallying spot not only for those profoundly committed to racial equality, but also for its most brutal opponents. As happened so much on this trip, we saw writ large how important it is that we redouble efforts to close the horrifying chasm that continues to divide this nation.

-- Drucilla Stender Ramey, Committee Division Director

I am old enough to remember having seen in real time TV reports of the events in Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma that marked the Civil Rights era, but there is no substitute for encountering the actual places where the struggle for equality played out, or for visiting the on-site memorials and museums that provide the historical context for and images of that struggle. As a child of Holocaust survivors whose father survived Auschwitz only by the most fortuitous of circumstances, the CRSJ mission continuously reminded me of the awful common history of blacks and Jews in having been victims of historic and enormous crimes against humanity, and of the crucial need for our communities to continue to make common cause in combating hatred and discrimination.

-- Richard T. Foltin., Council Member

Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks to Rosa Parks, Ralph Abernathy, and others about the planning of the Montgomery Bus Boycotts.

Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks to Rosa Parks, Ralph Abernathy, and others about the planning of the Montgomery Bus Boycotts.

About the Meeting

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Birmingham, Mongomery, & Selma, Alabama

During the 2018-19 ABA year, Section Chair Wilson Schooley's primary focus is on the overwhelming cumulative, enduring, daily effects of centuries of generational racism, oppression, terrorism and trauma on Black America, and on how richly we’ve profited - intellectually, financially, culturally, artistically, scientifically - from the people oppressed. As a Section forged in the Civil Rights movement, Mr. Schooley feels we should be in the thick of a conversation about this shameful side of the American Dream, part of creating a counter-narrative to the collective American silence on the history and continuing effects of slavery, racism, and domestic terror, and on the extraordinary contributions of African Americans to enriching our nation.

To kick off this initiative, on October 10-14, Section Council and leadership traveled to the civil rights triangle: Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma, Alabama, where we held the 2018 CRSJ Fall Council Meeting, discussed the upcoming ABA year, and charted the future of the Civil Rights and Social Justice Section.

Martin Luther King, Jr., preaches to the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

Martin Luther King, Jr., preaches to the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

Noteworthy Tours

Section leadership  visited many historic sites and museums during the meeting, including: