Honoring Juneteenth

The Columbia Law School community has fought for civil rights and championed racial justice for decades.

Flag for Juneteenth showing a purple and red stripe and white star inside of a starburst.

June 19, 2020, marks the 155th anniversary of the effective end of slavery in the United States. Today, “a reinvigorated Civil Rights Movement is possible, and we need to summon our better traditions as we recognize Juneteenth and commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States,” said Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger ’71 in an email message to the community announcing that Juneteenth will be a holiday for students, faculty, and staff.

The announcement follows weeks of protests fueled by the killing of George Floyd as Black and Brown communities also suffer disproportionately from the coronavirus pandemic. In her end-of-year message, Gillian Lester, Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, urged the Law School community to turn to each other for strength and look to our mission for purpose. “We share a common commitment to the basic ideals of human dignity and freedom and remain committed to the things that we do best—advancing knowledge, seeking justice, and . . . pursuing the purpose and passions that brought each of us to Columbia Law School in the first place.”

Below, see how members of the Law School community are continuing the long-standing fight for racial justice and find ways to get involved.

Columbia Law Explores the Impact of Slavery on the American Legal System

The Legacy of 1619: Columbia Law Explores the Impact of Slavery on the American Legal System

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Portrait of Alexis Hoag

Five Questions on Policing, Protests, and Race for Civil Rights Lawyer Alexis Hoag

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Book cover of Repair: Redeeming the Promise of Abolition, featuring a Black woman next to a small cabin.

Katherine Franke: We Must Repair the Intergenerational Damage of Enslavement

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Logo showing a fist holding a circle and a cross and the text "Empowering Women of Color"

Empowering Women of Color: Strengthening a Growing Intersectional Community


The Story Behind Columbia Law School’s First Summer Read

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A line drawing of professors Elizabeth Scott, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Colleen Shanahan

The Path Forward: Columbia Law Confronts Criminal Justice Reform

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Cover of the book Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement

Faculty Publication: Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement

By Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, Columbia Law School; Neil Gotanda, Western State College of Law; Gary Peller, Georgetown University Law Center; and Kendall Thomas, Columbia Law School

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Cover of the book The Meaning of Property Freedom, Community, and the Legal Imagination by Jedediah Purdy

Faculty Publication: The Meaning of Property Freedom, Community, and the Legal Imagination

By Jed Purdy

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Faculty in the News

Resources and Events

Get Involved

Explore events and resources at Columbia and elsewhere.


Forum on Black Lives Matter, Protest, and Creating Change

Watch this University Life Forum event, which took place on June 11 and featured guest speaker Olatunde C. Johnson, Jerome B. Sherman Professor of Law, Columbia Law School.


Under the Blacklight

This special virtual conversation series moderated by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, explores the intersectional failures COVID-19 lays bare. Listen to all episodes of Crenshaw’s podcast, Intersectionality Matters.


Columbia University and Slavery

This project, created by faculty, students, and staff, provides information about Columbia University’s historical connections to the institution of slavery.


Raising Anti-Racist Kids: What to Say and Do

Register for this virtual panel on how to actively raise anti-racist children, hosted by Bright Horizons’ Early Education and Diversity and Inclusion teams.


Explore Harlem

This guide to Harlem showcases Black-owned businesses as well as cultural institutions and local landmarks celebrating notable figures and events.

Student Organization

Black Law Students Association (BLSA)

The Black Law Students Association is an inclusive organization that provides a supportive community where students can learn and develop the tools necessary to achieve academic and professional success.  

Student Organization

Empowering Women of Color (EWOC)

Now in its 10th year, Empowering Women of Color supports this community and helps individuals face challenges through mentorship and professional development opportunities as well as academic and social events. 


Columbia Journal of Race and Law

The mission of the Columbia Journal of Race and Law is to establish a dialogue on historic and contemporary notions of sociopolitical and legal challenges facing racial and ethnic minorities.

Arial shot of Jerome Greene Hall on the Columbia Law School campus

Join the Conversation

Follow Columbia Law School on Twitter and LinkedIn to find more resources and events related to Juneteenth and stay up-to-date about how members of the Law School community, including faculty and alumni, are fighting for racial justice.