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Thursday, June 6, 2019

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Auburn Avenue Research Library
101 Auburn Avenue NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
United States


The Baton Foundation, Inc., in partnership with the Southern Center for Human Rights and the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, will host a lecture and book signing about the role Black leaders played in the mass incarceration of Black women, men and youth. This program is free and open to the public.

Program Narrative

In his book, Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black American, James Forman, Jr., a leading critic of mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people of color, seeks to understand the war on crime that began in the 1970s and why it was supported by many Black leaders in the nation’s urban centers.

Forman shows that the first substantial cohort of Black mayors, judges, and police chiefs took office amid a surge in crime and drug addiction. In response, these officials embraced tough-on-crime measures that would have unforeseen, but devastating, consequences for residents of poor Black neighborhoods. A former public defender in Washington, D.C., Forman tells riveting stories of politicians, community activists, police officers, defendants, and crime victims trapped in terrible dilemmas. Locking Up Our Own enriches our understanding of why our society became so punitive and offers important lessons to anyone concerned about the future of race and the criminal legal system in this country.

A reception with light refreshments will occur before the program.

About the Author

James Forman Jr. is a professor of law at Yale Law School. He attended public schools in Detroit and New York City before graduating from the Atlanta Public Schools. After attending Brown University and Yale Law School, he worked as a law clerk for Judge William Norris of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the U.S. Supreme Court. After clerking, he joined the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., where for six years he represented both juveniles and adults charged with crimes.

Professor Forman has written many law review articles, in addition to op-eds and essays for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Nation, and The Washington Post.

He lives in New Haven with his wife Ify Nwokoye, a nurse practitioner and yoga instructor, and their 8-year-old son Emeka, who loves sports, travel, and defying his parents.

NOTE: Limited free parking is available in the lot behind the library. You may secure a parking pass from the library’s concierge desk. Also, recording of any kind is not permitted at Baton Foundation events.

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