Campus News

Civil rights historian to give Hollowell Lecture April 2

Tomiko Brown-Nagin-v
Tomiko Brown-Nagin

Civil rights historian Tomiko Brown-Nagin will deliver UGA’s fourth annual Donald L. Hollowell Lecture April 2 at 7 p.m. at the historic Morton Theatre in downtown Athens.

Brown-Nagin, the Daniel P. S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law and a professor of history at Harvard University, will give a talk titled “ ‘The Civil Rights Queen’: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Racial and Gender Equality in America.” The lecture is open free to the public.

“We are honored and delighted to have Tomiko Brown-Nagin speak at this year’s lecture,” said R. Baxter Miller, a professor of English and African American Studies in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and interim director of the UGA Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights. “Professor Brown-Nagin is highly respected for her research on citizens who have contributed significant yet unrecognized advancements to civil rights in America.”

Brown-Nagin’s 2011 book, Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement, won the Bancroft Prize in American History, one of the nation’s most prestigious awards for a work in the field of history. Brown-Nagin was the first woman of color to win the honor. She currently is working on a biography of Constance Baker Motley, a civil rights attorney who won nine cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous cases in the lower federal courts, including the lawsuit, co-counseled with Donald L. Hollowell, that desegregated UGA.

After a groundbreaking career as a civil rights lawyer, Motley was elected the first female Manhattan Borough president and in 1966 became the first black woman appointed to the federal bench. As a judge on the U.S. District Court in New York, she issued rulings that helped to remove professional barriers for women and criminal defendants. She died in 2005.

“It is indeed an honor to have the eminent legal scholar and historian Dr. Tomiko Brown-Nagin speak on the enduring and powerful legacy of Constance Baker Motley, who partnered with Donald Hollowell on a number of civil rights cases in Georgia,” said Maurice C. Daniels, dean of the School of Social Work and a Hollowell biographer.

Brown-Nagin earned a doctorate in history from Duke University, a law degree from Yale University, where she edited the Yale Law Journal, and a bachelor’s degree in history, summa cum laude, from Furman University.