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Derrick Bell teaches a civil rights course

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Summary
Derrick Bell takes a leave of absence to protest the lack of minority faculty at Harvard Law
Topics
Affirmative action programs, Universities and colleges, African American law teachers, Civil rights, Segregation, Harvard University
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Log

1:00:10: Visual: Footage of Derrick Bell (Professor, Harvard Law School) teaching a class. Hope Kelly reports that Derrick Bell is one of sixty-six tenured professors at Harvard Law School; that only two of Bell's colleagues are also African American. Kelly notes that there are no Asian, Latino or Native American professors at the school; that there are no African American female professors at the school. V: Footage of Bell's class. A white female student says that the school needs a woman of color on the faculty in order to provide a wider perspective on issues of women in international development and on issues of human rights. Shots of students in the class. Kelly reports that more than a dozen Harvard Law School students have signed on to a lawsuit which charges the school with discriminatory hiring practices. Kelly reports that many experts think the lawsuit will be difficult to win. V: Footage of Bell being interviewed by Kelly. Bell says that US courts only understand race discrimination if it is obvious. Bell says that Harvard Law School has not prohibited African American women and other minorities from being hired onto the faculty. Bell says that Harvard Law School will not hire a professor who does not share the Harvard culture. Kelly reports that the culture at Harvard Law School is overwhelmingly white and male.. Kelly notes that only five of the sixty-six tenured professors are women. V: Shots of students in Bell's class; of Bell's hands as he makes gestures while speaking. Footage of Bell being interviewed by Kelly. Bell says that all professors teach a perspective; that all professors have a worldview. Kelly reports that students in Bell's class think that their perspectives are being "whitewashed." V: Shots of students in the class. Footage of an African American male student saying that diversity and quality do not have to be mutually exclusive. Shots of Bell at the front of the class. Kelly reports that Bell's seminar is called "Civil Rights at the Crossroads." Kelly reports that students have flocked to the class. Kelly notes that the students receive no credit for the course; that Bell receives no salary for teaching the course. Kelly reports that Bell is on unpaid leave. Kelly reports that Bell says that he will stay on leave until a woman of color is hired onto the faculty. V: Shots of Bell and the students in class. Footage of Bell being interviewed by Kelly. Bell says that he is a teacher; that teachers teach best by example. Bell says that he has always tried to teach law students about the importance of taking risks and making sacrifices. Bell says that real success stems from standing up for one's beliefs. Bell says that he must practice what he teaches. Kelly reports that Bell is passing up a salary of more than $100,000 per year. Kelly notes that Harvard Law School has continued to provide him with his office, a secretary and a classroom in which to teach. Kelly reports that Harvard Law School has failed to provide a set of role models which reflect the diversity of the student body. V: Shots of students walking on the campus of Harvard Law School. Shots of Bell in the classroom; of an African American female student in Bell's class.

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