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Mary Frances Berry to speak at Miami Hamilton

10/16/2002

Mary Frances Berry, chairperson of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, will speak on ”Affirmative Action: Are Political Opportunists Exploiting Racial Fears?” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the Wilks Conference Center on Miami University’s Hamilton campus.

The lecture is part of Miami’s Center for American and World Cultures speakers series. It is free and open to the public.

Berry was appointed to the Civil Rights Commission by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 but was fired by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 for criticizing his civil rights policies. She sued and won reinstatement in federal district court in 1984 and was named chairperson of the commission by President Bill Clinton in 1993. During the Carter administration, Berry served as assistant secretary of education in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

A lawyer, writer and historian, Berry is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches history and law. She is the author of seven books, including The Pig Farmer’s Daughter and Other Tales of American Justice: Episodes of Racism and Sexism in the Courts from 1865 to the Present and The Politics of Parenthood: Child Care, Women’s Rights and the Myth of the Good Mother.

Berry has received numerous awards including the NAACP’s Image Award and the Rosa Parks Award of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She is one of 75 women featured in “I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America” and has been designated one of “America’s Women of the Century” by the Women’s Hall of Fame.

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