Annette Gordon-Reed, who will be our Film Festival post-screening guest for Amistad, October 19, just received a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, more commonly known as the “genius grant,” given each year to 20 people in various fields of excellence in the sciences, arts, and humanities. She is Professor of Law and Professor of History at Harvard and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at Radcliffe. She won both a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, about Sally Hemings’ relationship with Thomas Jefferson and the descendants of their union. We are thrilled for Professor Gordon-Reed, and we know that our audience will appreciate hearing a recent MacArthur winner speak on the stage of the Film Festival. Read her bio.
In a casual conversation with lawyer friends of mine, we were discussing the current situation of displaced people in Haiti. It was very interesting to hear how educated, well-traveled, sensitive lawyers’ first reaction to the situation of the displaced in Haiti was one of concern in regards with the purported landowners’ right to property. How about Haiti having 2 million individuals who lost their homes and livelihood after the earthquake, who live in camps with makeshift tents, tarpaulins or old sheets held by stones or cinderblocks on open land, many without water or sanitary conditions, and where there is widespread violence because of the lack of security? Isn’t this enough to stop worrying so much about a rich minority’s purported property rights and think about human suffering? I guessed not. How about taking responsibility for a change? It is not only the Haitian government’s responsibility, but it is ours in
Last night as my friend and I walked from dinner to coffee, ourconversation revealed to me a glimpse into what Professor Rosenbaum means whenhe refers to law students and lawyers as “brain dead.” Prior to attending lawschool, I was a performing artist (dancer), and worked in arts management (mostrecently as a booking agent). I met this friend while working in the industry,and she still works as an agent for theater and dance companies. This portion of the conversation began when my friend askedme how I maintain a “can-do” attitude in an environment where we are constantlytold “you can’t” or “you’re not good enough,” as apparently 90% of first yearsare told. One of my responses was that I find it’s important to meet practicingattorneys to keep a perspective on the ultimate goal. By talking with practitioners,I can focus on the macro, rather than the micro (what the hell is the ParolEvidence