CBA 2016: Turning Vision into Action

Over 800 gather at HLS for the fourth Celebration of Black Alumni

Over 800 alumni returned to Harvard Law School on September 16-18, 2016, for the fourth Celebration of Black Alumni (CBA), Turning Vision into Action. The event brought together generations of black alumni to reconnect with old friends, network with new ones and take part in compelling discussions about the challenges and opportunities in local, national and global communities.

The weekend kicked-off with a mentoring event hosted by the Black Law Students Association (BLSA). U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch ’84 delivered the keynote address at the Harvard Law School Association (HLSA) Celebration Luncheon honoring HLS black judges and justices. Bryan Stevenson ’85, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, gave a keynote presentation at a luncheon honoring the founding members of BLSA and the Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal.


African Americans at Harvard Law School

Triumphant the Journey highlights the history of African Americans at Harvard Law School, from the school’s founding and first admitted black students through the hiring of black faculty and the first Celebration of Black Alumni. The video, narrated by Professors David Wilkins ’80, Kenneth Mack ’91, Annette Gordon-Reed ’84 and Charles Ogletree ’78, debuted at CBA.

There were over 15 plenaries and panel discussions, including a “CEO Roundtable,” “Community Justice and Politics as an Engine for Social Change,” “The African-American HLS Graduate as Judge, Prosecutor or Defender,” and “Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession.”

During the celebration, Theodore Wells ’76 received the Charles Hamilton Houston Medal of Freedom, Professor Charles Ogletree ’78 was recognized with the Celebration Award, and Professor David Wilkins ’80 received the Harvard Law School Association Award.

The first CBA, conceived by Wilkins, was held at the law school in September 2000 and drew more than 600 alumni from around the world.