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September 13, 2007

Noted Civil Rights Lawyer, Author to Speak on UT Campus

Dr. Michael Olivas, author of “Colored Men and Hombres Aqui: Hernandez v. Texas and The Emergence of Mexican American Lawyering” and the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of Houston Law Center, will discuss his book on Tuesday, September 18, 2007 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the University of Texas at Austin Santa Rita Room in the Texas Union.

Sponsored by the newly established Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, the event debuts the division’s celebration of its official opening. A book signing and reception for Dr. Olivas will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St. This event is hosted in collaboration with the Mexican American Cultural Center’s grand opening.

The book’s title comes from the 1954 case where lawyers argued that Pete Hernandez was not tried by a jury of his peers in Edna, Texas, in a 1951 shooting incident. In fact, no Mexican American in Jackson County in the Jim Crow era had ever been called to jury duty. The successful case, the first tried by Mexican American lawyers before the U.S. Supreme Court, was overshadowed by the Brown v. Board of Education case decided 10 days earlier.

Dr. Olivas is the author and co-author of several books and has been published widely in higher education journals and law reviews. His writings are cited in the popular press and debated in academic institutions across the United States.

Dr. Olivas holds a bachelor’s degree (Magna Cum Laude) from the Pontifical College Josephinum, master’s and doctor’s degrees from the Ohio State University, and a juris doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center. Dr. Olivas served two terms as general counsel of the American Association of University Professors. Elected to the American Law Institute and the National Academy of Education, he is the only individual to have membership in both honor academies.

The event is co-sponsored with The University of Texas at Austin Center for Mexican American Studies, College of Education, School of Law, and the City of Austin Mexican American Cultural Center.

For more information, call Deb Duval, (512) 232-7599, or visit http://www.utexas.edu/diversity. For information or a map to the MACC, please visit http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/parks/macc_event.htm.