Morris Dees, co-founder and chief trial attorney of the Southern Poverty Law Center, will deliver the third annual Donald L. Hollowell Lecture April 3 at 7 p.m. in Mahler Auditorium of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education. Dees’ presentation, “With Justice for All in a Changing America,” is open free to the public.
A light reception will precede the lecture at 6 p.m. Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, will deliver the welcome.
The lecture is sponsored by the UGA Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights, the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies and the School of Social Work.
Dees is best known for winning multimillion dollar lawsuits in discrimination cases against hate groups. The son of an Alabama tenant farmer, Dees learned early to value tolerance despite growing up in the segregated South. After the bombing of an Alabama church in 1963 killed four African-American girls, Dees and fellow lawyer Joseph Levin Jr. began providing free legal representation to victims of prejudice. The pair co-founded the SPLC in 1971.
In the decades since, the SPLC has removed barriers to equality for African-Americans, women, the disabled and the LGBT community, and advocated for humane treatment of incarcerated youth, immigrant workers and other marginalized groups.
“Since 1863, the law has been a highly effective device for establishing equal freedoms for diverse populations,” said R. Baxter Miller, the interim Donald L. Hollowell Distinguished Professor in the School of Social Work. “Attorney Dees exemplifies Donald L. Hollowell’s devotion to fair and just public access to civic and political life for everyone. We are honored that he will speak at this year’s lecture.”