Educated at Stanford and Harvard universities, law professor and author Charles Ogletree draws on his academic career to educate others about civil rights and the U.S. justice system through his writings and commentary in national media.
Date of Interview:
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Charlottesville, VA. - The University of Virginia
Charles Ogletree is as likely to show up on Larry King Live, The Today Show, or the pages of Savoy Magazine (which identified him as one of the 100 Most Influential Blacks in America in 2003) as he is in the contributors' column of professional law journals and law reviews. A professor at Harvard Law School, Ogletree also serves as founding director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice and as a legal theorist with an international reputation for his legal studies of Constitutional rights.
Ogletree is known for his determination to see that Constitutional rights are applied to everyone equally. His abilities as an educator follow him out of the classroom and law journals and into courtrooms and living rooms via public television forums such as State of the Black Union, Ethics in America, The McNeil-Lehrer News Hour, Meet the Press, and more. He is also an author of multiple books, including Brown at 50: The Unfinished Legacy and Beyond the Rodney King Story. In 2004, his book All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education was released. Additionally, Ogletree has collaborated on several books regarding African American legal issues. He also frequently contributes to the Harvard Law Review.
Born in 1952 in Merced, California, Ogletree graduated with distinction from Stanford University, earning his B.A. and M.A. in political science. Ogletree's civil activism began at Stanford and followed him across the country to Harvard Law School, where in addition to earning his J.D. in 1978, he served on the board of the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Program and became the national chairperson of the Black American Law Students Association. Ogletree remains passionate about higher education and public schools and currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia. Ogletree also currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the Building Education Leaders for Life (BELL) Foundation, which provides children in underprivileged areas with resources to grow and achieve.
Before returning to teach at his alma mater in 1987, Ogletree worked for the Washington D.C. Public Defender's Office, taught law at Antioch Law School and American University, and became a partner with the firm Jessamy, Fort & Ogletree. He has served on the team that represented Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas confirmation proceedings, is active in pursuing reparations to the descendants of slaves, and has received numerous awards, including the NAACP's Universal Humanitarian Award.