The Donia Human Rights Center, housed in the International Institute at the University of Michigan, brings Pulitzer-prize winning author and Yale Law School professor James Forman, Jr. to campus as part of its Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Lecture Series.  

His lecture “Locking up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America,” takes place Thursday, January 24, at 4:00 pm on the 10th floor of Weiser Hall, 500 Church Street, Ann Arbor. In 2018, Forman won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction for his book of the same title. Following the lecture, he will be available for a book signing, with copies available for purchase. Both events are free and open to the public.

Forman will discuss his work on human rights relating to mass incarceration and the disproportionate impact it has on people of color. A former public defender and child of civil rights activists, he will tackle difficult issues including: What was the African American response to the surge in crime and drug addiction beginning in the 1970s, and are there different choices available today? Sharing stories of former clients, judges, politicians, and citizens, he will explore the future of race and the criminal justice system in the United States.

James Forman, Jr. is a graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School. After graduation, he worked as a law clerk for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the U.S. Supreme Court. He joined the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., where for six years he represented both juveniles and adults in felony and misdemeanor cases. Along with David Domenici, he started the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, an alternative school for dropouts and youth who had previously been arrested. His op-eds and essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and the Washington Post. Forman has taught at Yale Law School since 2011.

This event is co-sponsored with support by: Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, Department of History, Department of Sociology, Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, Institute for the Humanities, International Institute Conflict and Peace Initiative, and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.