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Mary Frances Berry - 3/20/12

Mary Frances BerryMary Frances Berry is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she teaches history and law.

Dr. Berry was born in Nashville, Tennessee, where she attended public schools. She earned bachelors and masters degrees at Howard University, a doctorate in history from the University of Michigan, and the juris doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School. She is a member of the Bar of the District of Columbia.

She became Chairperson of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on November 19, 1993. An Independent, she was reappointed to the Commission by the President [Clinton] in January 1999, after having served as a member of the Commission for 13 years. Dr. Berry has received 34 honorary doctoral degrees and numerous awards for her public service and scholarly activities, including the NAACP's Roy Wilkins Award, the Rosa Parks Award of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Ebony Magazine Black Achievement Award. She is one of 75 women featured in I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America. Sienna College Research Institute and the Women's Hall of Fame designated her one of "America's Women of the Century." She is the author of seven books, including And Justice For All: The United States Commission on Civil Rights and the Continuing Struggle for Freedom in America (Knopf, 2009), My Face is Black is True: The Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations(Random House, 2005), and The Pig Farmer's Daughter and Other Tales of American Justice (Knopf, 2000).

"Achieving Justice in the Obama Era?"

Barbara Jordan eloquently expressed her faith in the Constitution at another troubled time in our history during the Watergate hearings. Today the Constitution and our system of government based on laws is under extreme stress again. Everything from conflicts over immigration, voter fraud or suppression, the overall division of power between the federal government and the states proceed in an atmosphere of poisonous partisanship. Whether economic policy is legal or wise when economic problems persist raises other questions. Poverty, increasing economic inequality and racism in a supposedly post-racial society all present their challenges. Under these circumstances how fares the justice agenda in the Obama Era?

Nittany Lion Inn, Board Room 1
6:00-7:30 p.m.