Film Series

Mississippi Burning: Screening and Conversation

October 20, 2009

When two FBI agents, portrayed by Willem Dafoe and Gene Hackman, are sent in to investigate the disappearance of a group of civil rights workers, they are faced with a social clash within the community that compromises their ability to work together.

FOLCS was joined by attorney, Jack Greenberg and professors, Sheila Foster and Robin A. Lenhardt, for a screening and discussion.

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Jack Greenberg
Attorney & Legal Scholar

Jack Greenberg has argued before United States Supreme Court in 40 cases, including Brown v. Board of Education, 1954, which declared “separate but equal” unconstitutional; and other cases in the Supreme Court and other courts involving civil rights in all its aspects. He is a founding member of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund and has participated in human rights missions to the Soviet Union, Poland, South Africa, the Philippines, Korea, Nepal, and elsewhere; consulted on integrating Roma school children in public schools in Eastern Europe. In addition to his experience abroad, he has held visiting lecturer positions at Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, the University of Munich, and the University of Tokyo. He also served as Dean of Columbia College from 1989–93. His awards include the Presidential Citizens Medal (2001), American Bar Association Thurgood Marshall Award (1996). He served as a Fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and as a Board member of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Publications include Crusaders in the Courts: Legal Battles of the Civil Rights Movement (2004); Brown v. Board of Education: Witness to a Landmark Decision (2004); Dean Cuisine: The Liberated Man’s Guide to Fine Cooking (with James Vorenberg, 1991).

Sheila Foster

Sheila Foster is the Albert A. Walsh Professor of Law at Fordham University and Co-Director of the Stein Center for Law and Ethics. From 1994 to 2001, she was a Professor of Law at the Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. She received her B.A. in English, with honors, from the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and her J.D. in from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California–Berkeley.

Professor Foster is the author of numerous publications on civil rights/constitutional law, race and legal theory, and environmental law. Her primary scholarship, however, is dedicated to exploring the intersection of civil rights and environmental law, in a field called “environmental justice.” The movement for environmental justice has called attention to the widespread inequitable distribution of a variety of environmental hazards (hazardous wastes, air pollution, lead, etc.) on low-income and minority communities. Professor Foster’s scholarship carefully delineates the legal, political, economic and social forces in producing this inequitable distribution and suggests legal reforms to alleviate it.

She has published in top law reviews, including the California Law Review and the Harvard Environmental Law Review. Professor Foster is a coauthor (with Luke Cole of the Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment) of the book From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement, published by N.Y.U Press (2001; second edition forthcoming in 2010). She is also co-editor (with Michael Gerrard) of The Law of Environmental Justice: Theories and Procedures to Address Disproportionate Risks (ABA, 2008).

Robin A. Lenhardt
Associate Professor

Robin A. Lenhardt is an Associate Professor of Law at the Fordham University School of Law, where she specializes in matters pertaining to race, civil rights, family law, and constitutional law. Prior to accepting her position at Fordham, Professor Lenhardt served as a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, and as a fellow and adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. Before entering legal academia, Professor Lenhardt held a number of positions in the private and non-profit sectors. A former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer and Judge Hugh Bownes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Professor Lenhardt was formerly a Counsel in the Washington, DC, office of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, where she was a member of the litigation team that defended the University of Michigan in the Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger affirmative action lawsuits. Professor Lenhardt also received a Skadden Foundation Fellowship to work as a staff attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and has been employed as an attorney advisor in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. Professor Lenhardt is a fellow with the Jamestown Project at Harvard Law School.