MLK Speaker Biography
2014 MLK Keynote Speaker
In 1998, Lani Guinier became the first African American woman to be appointed to a tenured professorship at Harvard Law School. During the 1980s, she was head of the voting rights project at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and served in the Civil Rights Division during the Carter administration as special assistant to then-Assistant Attorney General Drew S. Days. Guinier came to public attention when she was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993 to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, only to have her name withdrawn without a confirmation hearing. Guinier turned that incident into a powerful personal and political memoir, Lift Every Voice: Turning a Civil Rights Setback into a New Vision of Social Justice. She is the recipient of the Rosa Parks Award from the American Association for Affirmative Action, among other awards, and has received 11 honorary degrees from schools which include Smith College, Spelman College, Swarthmore College, and the University of the District of Columbia.