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Charles Ogletree

  • The Complicated Legacy of Our First Black President

    January 11, 2017

    Tonight President Obama will deliver his farewell address. He will use the opportunity to remind the nation of what he accomplished during eight difficult but historic years in office...I thought of this while waiting at a White House reception in September for the president to dedicate the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. I found myself with Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, who represented Anita Hill during her testimony to the Senate confirmation committee and who taught both President and First Lady Obama when they were in law school. Ogletree had recently gone public about his Alzheimer's diagnosis and its effects were becoming apparent. When the Marine Corps Band started to play "Hail to the Chief," everyone in the large crowd pressed forward, but Ogletree was the only one the president and first lady stopped to greet. The professor immediately assumed the role of teacher—speaking clearly, cogently, and with composure during his brief personal encounter with the Obamas.

  • 25 years later, Anita Hill says she would testify again

    October 26, 2016

    Twenty-five years after Anita Hill testified during the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, the acclaimed attorney and academic denounced a long list of sexual harassment and assault cases, illustrating that the national conversation about such issues continues to evolve. Hill’s comments came during a ceremony Monday night in which she was presented with UC Merced’s Spendlove Prize for social justice, diplomacy and tolerance...Charles Ogletree Jr., a Merced native and the first recipient of the prize, represented Hill during the hearings. He’s now a Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko law professor, among numerous other titles and accomplishments. He said Monday night that Hill is one of the strongest and most courageous people he’s ever met.

  • Notable Harvard professor speaks to San Diegans about Alzheimer’s (video)

    October 24, 2016

    Professor Charles Ogletree was diagnosed with Alzheimer's several months ago and he and his family want to stress the importance of education and of early diagnosis. Professor Ogletree has been a professor at Harvard Law School for the past 30 years. He's an advocate for continued education and empowers children to chase their dreams. His work has been recognized all over the world and dozens of schools have been named after him.

  • Professor Charles Ogletree ’78,

    Taking on a New Cause

    October 21, 2016

    HLS Professor Charles Ogletree ’78 announced this summer that he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and said he will work to raise awareness of the disease and its disproportionate effect on African-Americans. In sharing his story and putting a spotlight on this disease, he is continuing his lifelong efforts to help others.

  • CBA 2016: Turning Vision into Action

    September 30, 2016

    Over 800 alumni returned to Harvard Law School for the fourth Celebration of Black Alumni (CBA), Turning Vision into Action. The event brought together generations of black alumni to reconnect with old friends, network with new ones and take part in compelling discussions about the challenges and opportunities in local, national and global communities.

  • Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Professor Ogletree vows to fight it

    July 14, 2016

    Charles Ogletree '78, the Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice at Harvard Law School, recently announced that he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He said he will work to raise awareness of the disease and its disproportionate effect on African Americans.

  • Obama saddened by Ogletree’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis

    July 13, 2016

    President Obama is fondly voicing support for his close friend and mentor, Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree, who has announced he has Alzheimer’s disease. Obama has spoken of Ogletree as a constant source of inspiration to him, particularly during difficult times. In a statement to the Globe, the president said Tuesday that he and his wife, Michelle, are saddened to hear of the diagnosis. Michelle Obama is a 1988 Harvard Law School graduate. “Professor Charles Ogletree has been a dear friend and mentor to Michelle and me since we met him as law students more than two decades ago,” Obama said. “But we are just two of the many people he has helped, supported, taught, advised and encouraged throughout his life. “We were saddened to hear of his recent diagnosis, but we were also so inspired by Charles’s courageous response,” the president continued.

  • Charles Ogletree, Harvard law professor, says he has Alzheimer’s

    July 13, 2016

    After decades of fighting for justice, civil rights, and equality, the man whose friends call him “Tree” is now ready for a new battle. “You have to fight it; you have to address it,” Charles J. Ogletree Jr. says of his recently announced diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Despite revealing that he has the disease, the Harvard Law School professor, activist, and author said Monday that he has no plans to retire or clear his busy schedule. Instead, he feels called to spread awareness, especially among other people of color, who are disproportionately likely to develop the neurological disorder.

  • The K-12 Funding Crisis

    May 18, 2016

    An op-ed by Charles J. Ogletree Jr. & Kimberly Jenkins Robinson. Current discussions about K-12 education often highlight the reforms that seek to improve the quality of schooling. Some of these measures—the common-core standards, teacher evaluation, and, most recently, the Every Student Succeeds Act—undoubtedly have the potential to improve educational opportunities for students. However, what is often missing from education reform conversations is how these reforms can create sustainable changes to the education system. We believe the system's very foundations are broken, and school funding is one of the most pressing issues in need of repair.

  • Power Lunch: Charles Ogletree

    May 16, 2016

    Q&A with Charles Ogletree: The internationally renowned legal theorist reveals the inside scoop on the Obamas, talks race relations at Harvard, and shares his thoughts on the new Supreme Court nominee.

  • Merrick Garland

    A Mensch on the Bench

    May 10, 2016

    A judicial temperament involves many qualities. For Merrick Garland, patience is one of them.

  • Seizing the Opportunity

    April 28, 2016

    Since graduating from Harvard College in 1985 and then getting his law degree, Alan Jenkins '89 had been on a career fast track, but he felt frustrated about the forces of injustice and inequality he saw around him.

  • Garland maintains deep ties to Harvard

    March 18, 2016

    At intensely competitive Harvard Law School, Merrick Garland was known for explaining complex topics to classmates. Later, as a member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers, he led an initiative to improve the quality of life in the college’s residential houses...“It was evident he was enormously intelligent, but he is also a very decent person, a very generous, kind, thoughtful person,” said Bill Alford, a Harvard Law School professor who attended the school with Garland. Both graduated in 1977.Garland still calls Alford when he wants to know about students who have applied to clerk for him, Alford said. Garland takes time to ask about students’ personalities, in addition to their analytical skills, he said....Charles Ogletree, a Harvard Law School professor, also knew Garland in law school. He recalled the two sharing meals in the dining hall and at each other’s homes and discussing Supreme Court decisions — but never the idea that Garland might one day sit on that bench. Ogletree said Garland likes to fish and draw, and although he loves his family, was never afraid to work tirelessly. “Even though people hate nominees by President Obama, I think that Merrick Garland is the kind of person who has all the qualifications one needs,” Ogletree said.

  • Merrick Garland

    President Obama nominates Merrick Garland ’77 to the U.S. Supreme Court

    March 16, 2016

    Merrick Garland ’77—President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court—has been very much involved in the life of Harvard Law School since receiving his degree from HLS nearly four decades ago. Dean Martha Minow described as “an outstanding, meticulous, and thoughtful judge with a superb career of public service.”

  • Hundreds of Law Profs Call on Senate Leaders to Consider SCOTUS Nominee

    March 8, 2016

    A group of more than 350 legal scholars on Monday called upon Senators to fulfill their constitutional obligation to consider a U.S. Supreme Court nominee submitted by President Obama. In a letter sent to Senate leaders, 356 professors and scholars said that leaving an eight-justice court in place would have dire consequences. They asserted that allowing Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat to remain unfilled until after the presidential election could cripple the court and set bad precedent...Law scholars from more than 100 law schools signed on, including Harvard Law School professors Charles Ogletree and Laurence Tribe; University of California, Irvine School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky; University of California, Berkeley School of Law professor Herma Kay; Stanford Law School professor Deborah Rhode; and New York University School of Law professor Kenji Yoshino.

  • ‘Make your place in history’

    February 24, 2016

    Books served as a window to the world for a young Charles J. Ogletree Jr. His parents and grandparents may not have been formally educated — they weren’t even high school graduates — but Ogletree says they let him go to the library every Saturday. It was there he’d read and imagine places he’d never been and explore future career paths. “I didn’t read the books for no reason,” Ogletree said. “I read them because I wanted to be somebody who wrote books.” That was back then. Today, Ogletree is a Harvard Law School graduate and professor who’s written several books on education, race and other topics. He serves as both founder and executive director for the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice — an institute that’s engaged in a wide range of educational, legal and policy issues in the past six years. On Tuesday, Ogletree addressed students on the campus of Kentucky State University as part of its African-American Living Legends series.

  • Ogletree: Time for a woman to be president

    February 22, 2016

    Prominent legal theorist Charles Ogletree long ago said that an Obama would become the first African-American president. Though it became reality — Barack Obama is in the final year of his second four-year term — it turns out Ogletree was a bit off in his assumption. The Obama he was referring to is First Lady Michelle Obama...Ogletree talked about his relationship with the first couple and the current presidential election during a Feb. 11 conversation prior to his lecture as part of the University at Buffalo Distinguished Speaker Series at Alumni Arena. A professor and author known for his work related to issues of race, equity and social justice, he was UB’s 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Speaker.

  • The costs of inequality: Education’s the one key that rules them all

    February 15, 2016

    Third in a series on what Harvard scholars are doing to identify and understand inequality, in seeking solutions to one of America’s most vexing problems....Trauma also subverts achievement, whether through family turbulence, street violence, bullying, sexual abuse, or intermittent homelessness. Such factors can lead to behaviors in school that reflect a pervasive form of childhood post-traumatic stress disorder. At Harvard Law School, both the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative and the Education Law Clinic marshal legal aid resources for parents and children struggling with trauma-induced school expulsions and discipline issues. ...With help from faculty co-chair and Jesse Climenko Professor of Law Charles J. Ogletree, the Achievement Gap Initiative is analyzing the factors that make educational inequality such a complex puzzle: home and family life, school environments, teacher quality, neighborhood conditions, peer interaction, and the fate of “all those wholesome things,” said Ferguson.

  • Antonin Scalia’s Other Legacy

    February 15, 2016

    In addition to his fiery rhetoric, his originalism, and his profound impact on his fellow Supreme Court justices and the court itself, Antonin Scalia was famous for another thing: his surprising support of criminal defendants in many cases. “I ought to be the darling of the criminal defense bar,” Scalia once pleaded. “I have defended criminal defendants’ rights—because they’re there in the original Constitution—to a greater degree than most judges have.” ... Still, Scalia’s opinions for the court—and, as ferociously, his dissents—have shaped the landscape of protections afforded to criminal defendants. Charles Ogletree, a famed public defender, adviser to President Obama, and Harvard Law School professor, said of Scalia, a brilliant, colorful, towering giant of the legal community who died suddenly on Saturday at the age of 79, “We are from different worlds, but we both appreciate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

  • A looming fight over the SCOTUS nomination?

    February 14, 2016

    Law professor at Harvard University, Charles Ogletree talks to Alex Witt about President Obama’s considerations for judicial appointees.

  • UB speaker assesses modern race relations (audio)

    February 12, 2016

    Race relations in America have improved, but they aren't always good. This assessment was provided by Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree, who spoke Thursday at the University at Buffalo. Ogletree was the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Commemoration Speaker and also participated in a conversation with students, faculty and university friends.