NYT: Derrick Bell, a legal scholar who worked to expose the persistence of racism in America through his books and articles and his provocative career moves — he gave up a Harvard Law School professorship to protest the school’s hiring practices — died on Wednesday in New York. He was 80.
… Mr. Bell was the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School and later the first black dean of a law school that is not historically black. But he was perhaps better known for resigning from prestigious jobs than for accepting them.
In his 20s, while working at the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, he was told to give up his membership in the N.A.A.C.P., which his superiors believed posed a conflict of interest. Instead, he quit the Justice Department, ignoring the advice of friends to try to change things from within.
Thirty years later, when he left Harvard Law School, he rejected similar advice. At the time, he said, his wife, Jewel Hairston Bell, asked him, “Why does it always have to be you?”
…. At a rally while a student at Harvard Law School, Barack Obama compared Professor Bell to the civil rights hero Rosa Parks.
Full article here
Thank you Claire