Albany Law School and the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) are celebrating Black History Month with several virtual events during the rest of February including:
- Discussion on the Deplorables on Thursday, February 18th, at 7pm (Panel)
- You Are What You Eat: The Impact of Environmental Racism on Minority Communities on Monday, February 22nd, at 7pm (cooking class)
More information about BLSA and the events the organization hosts is on
“Black History Month events are important because it allows individuals to go beyond the surface and gain a deeper understanding of the trials and triumphs of Black people. History books, and even our education systems, do a poor job of educating our children about the truths of American history and Black history,” BLSA President Shellee Daniel ’21 said. “Although we appreciate Black History Month, it is imperative that individuals continue to educate themselves about Black history beyond the month of February. At its essence, American history is Black history.”
“Our nation can’t heal and grow if we continue to sweep uncomfortable conversations under the rug, so I am excited that BLSA will be able to facilitate the Discussion on the Deplorables. The cooking class should also be interesting because it places a practical implication on the impacts of environmental racism on minority communities,” Daniel added. “As a person of color entering into a profession where Black people represent only 5% of attorneys, an organization like BLSA is very important to me. BLSA has become a place where I can be comfortable, I can be at home, and have a support system of people who can not only empathize with me, but also understand the life of navigating through this world as a law student and beyond.”
Historically, Black History Month at Albany Law School culminates with the annual James Campbell Matthews Banquet. The banquet pays tribute to James Campbell Matthews, Class of 1870, the first African American law school graduate in New York State. As a young attorney, Matthews argued against the City of Albany's School Board and won, forcing the city to desegregate its public schools. He later became New York State's first African American judge.
Due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, the 2021 banquet will be postponed.
James Campbell Matthews, Albany Law's—and New York's—First Black Law Graduate and Judge