"Fight for a cause that surpasses understanding," activist and law professor Derrick Bell urged a Homecoming Weekend audience at a panel discussion September 28.
Bell has never hesitated to fight, especially for social justice. A civil rights lawyer, in 1969 he became the first African American on the Harvard Law faculty, a position he left to become law dean at the University of Oregon. He quit the deanship in 1985 when Oregon refused to hire an Asian-American female candidate. Bell returned to Harvard, resigning in 1992 to protest the lack of minority women on the faculty. He now teaches law at New York University. Bell's most recent book is Ethical Ambition: Living a Life of Meaning and Worth, the subject of his remarks at Brown.
"There are values in trying to live ethically that bring guaranteed dividends whether or not you succeed as the world measures success," the Brown Daily Herald quoted Bell as saying.