The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial lectures are held as part of an annual commemoration celebrating the life and work of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at events on both the New York City and Westchester campuses of Pace University.
Lawrence Otis Graham is a nationally-known author, attorney and commentator on race, class and politics in America. A graduate of White Plains H.S., Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Graham is aNew York Times bestselling author of 14 books and numerous articles for such publications as The New York Times, New York Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Glamour Magazine and Reader’s Digest, where he has served as contributing editor. He has also been a contributing editor of Westchester Magazine
His life, mission, work
Prior to joining the Pace Law School faculty in 1988, Professor McLaughlin was an attorney associated with Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, with whom he did litigation and labor law work. In 1978, he began his legal career at the Center for Constitutional Rights, a civil rights/civil liberties legal organization in New York City. For eight years he worked side by side with the renowned civil rights attorney William Kunstler fighting for the rights of activists and the communities across the country. While there he was responsible for the management and coordination of important civil rights/civil liberties cases at the trial and appellate levels and he pioneered the development of a legal strategy to redress incidents of racially-motivated violence. In 1982, he won an award of $535,000 for five black women who had been attacked by members of the Chattanooga Ku Klux Klan.
Professor McLaughlin specializes in voting rights litigation. In 1991, after he filed a voting rights challenge to the election of New Rochelle 's City Council, the city changed its method of electing council members. On February 20, 1997, Professor McLaughlin won a landmark victory in a voting rights case against the Town of Hempstead, NY. A federal judge ruled that the town-wide method of electing the Town Council was discriminatory and ordered that the system be dismantled.
In 1997, Professor McLaughlin agreed to represent the family of Charles Campbell who had been killed during a dispute over a parking space in Dobbs Ferry , N.Y. The shooter, an off-duty New York City police officer, was subsequently convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to a prison term of twenty years to life. Professor McLaughlin filed suit against the shooter, his alleged accomplices, and won a $5 million dollar verdict in federal court.
In 2007, he intervened on behalf of an Hispanic political activist in a voting rights lawsuit brought by the United States Department of Justice against the Village of Port Chester. On January 17, 2008, the district court issued an opinion and found that the Village's at-large election system violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The Dream Fulfilled?
The keynote address from Pace University Trustee Christopher A. Edwards ’95, of Choate Hall & Stewart LLP (Boston, MA).