Civil rights & science at Assembly Series

Programs to feature Charles Ogletree and Philip Clayton

Legendary civil rights pioneer Charles Ogletree will present his views on the Roberts court at noon on Tuesday, March 4, in the Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom, Anheuser-Busch Hall. The talk, part of the School of Law’s Public Interest Law & Policy Speakers Series and co-sponsored by African and African-American studies, is free and open to the public. Ogletree will be on campus as a University Distinguished Visiting Scholar.

One of the most famous attorneys of the post-civil rights era and a member of the first generation to benefit from the landmark lawsuit Brown vs. the Board of Education, Ogletree is a prominent lawyer, teacher and criminal defense attorney. At Harvard University, he holds the Jesse Climenko Professorship of Law and is the founding and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice. He also is currently affiliated with the Washington, D.C. law firm, Jordan, Keys & Jessamy.

Ogletree’s most recent publications include two books related to the Brown decision: “Brown at 50: The Unfinished Legacy,” and his historical memoir, “All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-century of Brown v. Board of Education.” He also is co-editor with Austin Sarat of the recent publication “From Lynch Mobs to the Killing State: Race and the Death Penalty.”

His career began as a staff attorney in the District of Columbia’s public defender service and he quickly rose through the ranks to become deputy director. In 1985, he joined the law firm, Jessamy, Fort & Ogletree. The same year, he joined the Harvard Law School faculty.

Serving as legal counsel to Anita Hill in the notorious 1991 Senate confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas, Ogletree was thrust into the national spotlight. His reflections on those experiences are covered in a chapter of the book entitled “Race, Gender and Power in America,” edited by Hill and Emma Coleman. He also co-chairs the Reparations Coordinating Committee along with Randall Robinson. The committe dedicated to investigating reparations for descendants of African slaves.

Ogletree earned both a bachelor and master’s degree in political science from Stanford University and he holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he served as special projects editor for the Harvard Civil Rights – Civil Liberties Law Review.

Philip Clayton

The long-held belief that science and religion are polar opposites is being challenged by scholars who are embracing the relatively new concept of emergence. Emergence offers a radically different way to understand both science and spirituality, and one of its leading authorities, Philip Clayton, will give a talk on the subject at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, in the Whitaker Hall Auditorium. The program, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by The Department of Religious Studies in Arts & Sciences.

Clayton’s talk, “From Quantum to Consciousness: Does Emergence Support the Language of Spirit?” is this year’s Witherspoon Lecture in Religion and Science. Through his teaching, research and writing, Clayton, a professor of religion and philosophy at Claremont Graduate University and the Ingraham Professor at Claremont School of Theology, presents compelling arguments that emergence allows for the integration of beliefs on both sides of the debate.

After graduating with dual doctoral degrees in philosophy and religious studies from Yale University, Clayton taught at Haverford College, Williams College and California State University, in addition to receiving visiting professorships at Harvard’s Divinity School and the University of Munich.

Among his most notable books are “God and Contemporary Science, The Problem of God in Modern Thought;” and “Mind and Emergence: From Quantum to Consciousness.” He has co-edited major works on the subject, including “The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Sciences,” with Jeffrey Schloss; and most recently, “The Re-emergence of Emergence: The Emergentist Hypothesis from Science to Religion,” with Paul Davies.

The Witherspoon Lecture is made possible through support from longtime benefactor of religious studies, William Witherspoon.

For more information on these programs, visit the Assembly Series Web site at