Kathleen Neal Cleaver, human rights activist, author, lawyer and current holder of the Joanne Woodward Chair in Public Policy at Sarah Lawrence College, will deliver a lecture titled "Looking Back Through the Heart of Dixie" on Wednesday, March 10, 1999 at 6:30 p.m. in Reisinger Hall. The lecture, which looks at the historical underpinnings of the collapse of the struggle for social justice from an African American perspective, is free and open to the public.
Cleaver, fourth holder of the Woodward Chair, has spent most of her life participating in the struggle for human rights. She has served on the Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts and is a board member of the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights. She has taught at Emory University, Benjamin Cardozo School of Law and Yale University and held fellowships at the Black Atlantic Project of the Center for Historical Analysis at Rutgers University, the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute of Harvard University and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library.
In the late 60's and early 70's she was the Communications Secretary of the Black Panther Party, the first woman member of their Central Committee. After sharing years of exile with her former husband Eldridge Cleaver, she returned to the United States and earned her B.A. in History from Yale College, where she graduated summa cum laude. In 1989 she received a J.D. from Yale Law School, then became an associate at a major New York law firm. She clerked for Judge A. Leon Higginbotham of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit before embarking on a teaching career.
The Joanne Woodward Chair in Public Policy was established in honor of Joanne Woodward, a member of the Class of 1990 and a trustee of the College from 1986-1994. The Chair is a tribute to the breadth of Ms. Woodward's social concerns and commitment and was created to provide a prominent focus for the College's efforts to integrate liberal arts courses with major public policy issues. The endowed Chair advances the College's teaching agenda to prepare students for public service and citizen advocacy in such issues as promoting peace, alleviating poverty, protecting the environment, safeguarding human rights and supporting a free forum for original voices in the arts.