category: Campus News

University to host civil rights attorney and legal scholar Dr. Peter Irons, Sept. 16-17

(Sept. 10, 2015) – Carson-Newman University will host American political activist, civil rights attorney and legal scholar Dr. Peter H. Irons, Sept. 16–17 for two lectures. Events are free and open to the public.

Irons’ visit is in concert with “A Simple Justice,” the University’s commemoration of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

“We are delighted to have Professor Irons on campus,” said Dr. Kara Stooksbury, chair of the Department of History, Political Science and Sociology. “His works go beyond merely explaining the law to helping readers understand the personal struggles of individuals who have fought for justice. He not only writes about these issues, but has served as legal counsel to individuals whose rights have been infringed.”

Irons serves as professor emeritus of political science at the University of California, San Diego. He is also the author of several books on the Supreme Court and constitutional litigation, which includes “The Courage of Their Convictions,” “Jim Crow’s Children: The Broken Promise of the Brown Decision” and “A People’s History of the Supreme Court,” which earned the Silver Gavel Certification of Merit by the American Bar Association.

He has been invited to more than 20 schools to lecture on constitutional law and civil liberties including the law schools of Harvard, Yale, Berkeley and Stanford. He is a practicing civil rights and liberties attorney, and he was lead counsel in the 1980s in the successful effort to reverse the World War II criminal convictions of Japanese-Americans who challenged the curfew and relocation orders. He was also elected to two terms on the national board of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Irons will speak twice on campus. On Sept. 16, he will present the University’s Constitution Day lecture at 6:30 p.m. in Thomas Recital Hall, located in Tarr Music Center.

He will also speak on Sept. 17, at Jefferson City’s First Baptist Church at 9:30 a.m.

As part of the Voting Rights Act’s golden anniversary, Carson-Newman is offering events throughout the 2015-16 academic year that celebrate the historic occasion.

The U.S. Voting Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 6, 1965. The act meant to enforce the 15th Amendment of the Constitution ratified by Congress in 1870.

The bill was created to guarantee African-Americans the right to vote and made it illegal to impose restrictions on any federal, state and local elections that were designed to deny the vote to blacks.

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