July 15, 2015 – The University of Houston Law Center and Dean Leonard M. Baynes will be honored next week by the National Bar Association for continued support of the organization, specifically co-sponsoring a symposium held annually in the name of an early civil rights advocate.
The Law Center will be presented the NBA’s Presidential Award at the group’s 90th annual convention July 19-23, 2015 in Los Angeles. Associate Dean for Student Affairs Sondra Tennessee will be accepting the award on behalf of the Law Center.
The NBA is the nation's oldest and largest association of predominantly African-American lawyers, judges, educators, and law students with more than 65,000 members in 84 chapters throughout the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Africa, and the Caribbean.
Baynes helped plan and participated in the NBA’s 25th Annual Wiley A. Branton Issue Symposium with the theme of “Education: The New Civil Right.” Then-chairman of the UH Board of Regents Jarvis Hollingsworth and UHLC Professor Ellen Marrus also participated in the conference as panelists. Marrus published an article based on her presentation, “Education in Black America: Is It the New Jim Crow?” in a special edition of the Arkansas Law Review commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Branton Symposium.
The New York City symposium was held on Oct. 10, 2014 and was co-sponsored by UHLC and the Ronald H. Brown Center at St. John’s University School of Law. Baynes was the inaugural director of the Brown Center and a professor at St. John’s prior to joining the Law Center faculty in August 2014.
Branton, an attorney and tireless advocate for voting rights, helped desegregate the University of Arkansas School of Law and later sued to integrate the Little Rock public school system. He worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil right rights leaders to educate the public about their voting rights and served as President Lyndon B. Johnson’s personal representative to the Department of Justice to ensure implementation of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. He also served as dean of the Howard University School of Law.