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Patricia Williams to Give Davis Lecture

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November 1, 2005 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Patricia Williams, a winner of the so-called MacArthur “genius” award, a magazine columnist for The Nation and a Columbia University law professor, will deliver the annual Allison Davis Lecture at Northwestern University Thursday, Nov. 3.

Williams, who has written thought-provoking works about race, gender and society for more than a decade, will discuss “Civil Rights in an Era of Social Wrongs” at 4:30 p.m. in the McCormick Tribune Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. Her lecture is free and open to the public.

Williams’ first book, “The Alchemy of Race and Rights: A Diary of a Law Professor,” was named one of the 25 best books of 1991 by the (Village) Voice Literary Supplement. Ms. Magazine called it one of the “feminist classics…that literally changed women’s lives.”

Her latest book, “Open House: On Family, Food, Friends, Piano Lessons and The Search for a Room of My Own,” is both a personal account and a critical look at American society. It has been called a collection of smart, funny, and wise essays about family, the state of black womanhood in the Age of Oprah and what it means to live in a nation that now calls itself the Homeland.

Before working in academia, Williams practiced law, was a consumer advocate and deputy city attorney for the City of Los Angeles, and was a staff attorney for the Western Center on Poverty and Law. She has written for scholarly and popular newspapers and magazines, including USA Today, Harvard Law Review, Tikkun and The New York Times Book Review.

Sponsored by Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and African-American Studies Department, the Davis Lecture is named in honor of the first African American to get tenure at a major northern university. Davis, who received tenure in 1949 at the University of Chicago, is best known for his work in pointing out the cultural biases of IQ testing in the United States. For information about the lecture, call (847) 467-3005 or e-mail staciak@northwestern.edu.