Psychi Harm and Race: The American Legacy of No "Truth and Reconciliation"
April 6, 2008
Moore Hall Auditorium
106 Moore Hall
Bryan Stevenson is widely acclaimed as one of the most effective public service lawyers in America, and he has devoted his life to helping disadvantaged people in the Deep South. He and his staff have been largely responsible for reversals or reduced sentences in over 65 death-penalty cases.
Stevenson is a graduate of both Harvard Law School where he was awarded the Harvard Fellowship in Public Interest Law, and Harvard School of Government, where he was awarded the Kennedy Fellowship in Criminal Justice.
In 1985, Stevenson joined the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta as a staff attorney. From 1989-1995, he represented capital defendants as the executive director of the Alabama Capital Representation Resource Center As executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, Stevenson represents indigent defendants, death-row prisoners and juveniles who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system. Stevenson is committed to informing policymakers in the critically important work of reforming the administration of criminal justice, and he assists counsel representing death-row inmates by providing training materials and consultation.
Stevenson’s work on behalf of condemned prisoners has attracted national recognition and acclaim form the Washington Post, the New York Times, People Magazine, LIFE Magazine and several national television programs including Nightline and 60 Minutes, which featured a case where he and his staff achieved the release of a prisoner who spent six years on death row for a crime he did not commit.
In 1995, Stevenson was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship Award for his work. He has also received many other national honors. In 1989, he received the Reebok Human Rights Award along with the Chinese student leaders at the Tiananmen Square massacre. In 1991, he received the National Medal of Liberty from the American Civil Liberties Union after being nominated by U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Stevens. Stevenson was named the 1996 Public Interest Lawyer of the Year by the National Association of Public Interest Lawyers. In 1999, he was awarded the Gleitsman Foundation’s National Citizen Activist Award, and in 2000 he received the Olaf Palme Prize for international human rights in Stockholm, Sweden The American Bar Association has honored Stevenson with its John Minor Public Service and Professionalism Award. In 2002, he received the Alabama State Bar Commissioners Award. In 2003, the SALT Human Rights Award was presented to Stevenson by the Society of American Law Teachers. In 2004, he received the Award for Courageous Advocacy from the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Lawyer for the People Award from the National Lawyers Guild.
Stevenson has received honorary degrees from Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Washington University, Eastern University, City University of New York School of Law, Metropolitan College of New York, the Bank Street College of Education, Bard College and Villanova University.