Cornell William Brooks
Black History Month • Educational, 14-Jul-2022
Originally broadcast at 2:00 p.m. ET Thursday, July 14, 2022.
Cornell William Brooks is Hauser Professor of the Practice of Nonprofit Organizations and Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership and Social Justice at Harvard Kennedy School, where he leads as Director of The William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice at the School’s Center for Public Leadership. He also serves as Visiting Professor of the Practice of Prophetic Religion and Public Leadership at Harvard Divinity School. He is a civil rights attorney, ordained minister, orator, writer, and the executive producer of two films. Brooks is the former president and CEO of the NAACP, where, under his leadership, the NAACP secured 12 significant legal victories, including laying the groundwork for the first statewide legal challenge to prison-based gerrymandering. He also reinvigorated the activist social justice heritage of the NAACP, dramatically increasing membership. He conceived and led “America’s Journey for Justice” March from Selma, Alabama to Washington, D.C., over 40 days and 1000 miles, among many other demonstrations. Prior to leading the NAACP, Brooks was president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. He previously served as senior counsel and acting director of the Office of Communications Business Opportunities at the Federal Communications Commission, executive director of the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington, and a trial attorney at both the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the U.S. Department of Justice. He was the executive producer of the CNN docuseries The People v. the Klan. Brooks holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal and member of the Yale Law & Policy Review, and a Master of Divinity from Boston University’s School of Theology, where he was a Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar. He also holds a B.A. from Jackson State University. He is a fourth-generation ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
About Chautauqua Institution: Chautauqua Institution is a community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state that comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue. CHQ Assembly is the online expression of Chautauqua Institution's mission.
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