USD Black Law Student Association Holds Black History Month Celebration

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The Black Law Student Association has been honoring Black History Month at the School of Law with a series of celebrations. This year’s events feature a keynote address, “Living at the Edge of Uncertainty: Celebrating Black History in a Moment of Progress and Despair” by USD Law Associate Dean Tiffany Graham at 4 p.m. today in the law school courtroom. The address is co-sponsored by Women along with USD’s BLSA chapter. A reception will immediately follow in the Davenport Evans Law Student Commons. All are welcome to attend.

In addition to the presentation by Graham, the BLSA chapter screened the documentary “The Newburgh Sting” on Feb. 10 in the law school. The documentary focuses on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's sting operation on four Muslim men involved in the 2009 Bronx terrorism plot. The film is an HBO Documentary and is available through HBOGO and HBO on Demand.

“African-Americans have made enormous strides since the legal structure of Jim Crow was formally dismantled, but the narrative of the past 60 years is not a story of unceasing progress. The old cliché remains true – ‘When White America catches a cold, Black America develops pneumonia,’” said Graham, “an idea that is reflected in the inequality of our post-racial, post-Ferguson experience. How do we understand this moment, in which the two-time election of a Black president, the growth of a class of Black millionaires, and a trend of Black females outpacing their peers in college enrollment numbers, sit in tension with an expanding racial divide, socioeconomic impairment, and a need to assert that #blacklivesmatter? How do we continue to implement the ongoing project of Black civic integration?”

Graham was previously the associate dean of academic affairs and a professor of law at the University of La Verne College of Law and an assistant professor of law at Villanova University School of Law. She has taught in the areas of constitutional law, race and the law, criminal procedure, law and sexuality, and torts. Download a photo of Graham.

The Black Law Student Association’s mission is to engage students in promoting their professional and career development, specifically introducing members to local, regional, and national organizations and networks that provide opportunities to put their legal education into use. BLSA believes that its mission is to provide community support for its members who need additional resources to ultimately have successful legal careers. The organization focuses on three key components: education, networking, and professional development.

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USD’s School of Law prepares students for leadership in the administration of justice in South Dakota, including in rural areas where the demand is great, and for private practice, public service, business and other law-related endeavors anywhere. Its joint degree program allows students to also earn one of nine master’s degrees within the traditional three-year law curriculum, which includes course tracks in business, commercial, constitutional, criminal, employment, environmental, Indian, real estate and tax law as well as civil litigation and estate planning.

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Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 206 undergraduate and 71 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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