Launched in September 2023, the Gibson-Banks Center for Race and the Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law is mission-focused on working in partnership to improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities impacted by historical and modern-day racial and intersectional oppression.
Our vision is to work collaboratively to reimagine and transform institutions and systems of racial and intersectional inequality, marginalization, and oppression. The center engages in these efforts in partnership with diverse leaders and stakeholders in Baltimore, in Maryland, and throughout the United States, including individuals and communities directly impacted by inequality and injustice and organizations committed to racial and economic justice. While the center aims to reach far, it is rooted in Baltimore. It is for Baltimore as well as of Baltimore.
The Gibson-Banks Center examines, engages, and addresses persistent issues of inequality and justice with a focus on systems, institutions, and visions that stakeholders have identified in a wide range of areas, including the criminal legal system, economic justice, employment, education, housing, health, voting/redistricting, technology, transportation, and emerging issues.
Tools for Transformation
Education and engagement activities:
- Develop and otherwise coordinate courses at Maryland Carey Law as well as University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and University System of Maryland (USM) institutions that connect to our mission.
- Host an annual public lecture by a scholar focused on current and/or historical perspectives on race, subordination, and law.
- Host conferences and symposia on race and law including scholars, advocates, leaders, and community stakeholders.
- Coordinate and host conversations with scholars, researchers, advocates, leaders of diverse backgrounds, and community stakeholders focused on forward-looking approaches to racial justice and inclusion.
- Utilize different artistic forms—including film screenings, book talks, and other expressive forms—to extend and deepen both understanding and urgency.
The Center engages legal scholarship and multidisciplinary research focused on addressing racial and intersectional oppression and injustice. Research aims:
- Produce and foster legal and policy-based scholarship on race and intersectionality, including reports analyzing myriad issues impacting racially marginalized communities in Baltimore and throughout Maryland and proposing solutions (wholesale and incremental).
- Bring together scholars across the UMB and USM systems to foster and deepen interdisciplinary research on race and intersectionality, focused on highlighting systemic racism, racial bias, and racial oppression, and advance coordinated solutions.
- Convene scholars, advocates, governmental leaders, philanthropists, and stakeholders to present research findings and to foster conversations and actions aimed at addressing issues, operationalizing solutions, and advancing racial justice.
- Assist Maryland’s elected officials in their articulated commitments to address racial inequality and injustice, including disparities in wealth, home ownership, incarceration, criminalization, transportation, education, and impacts of climate change.
Advocacy work includes litigation in state and federal courts and agencies; promoting policy and legislative change at the local, state, and federal levels; and authoring amicus briefs in cases of local, state, and national importance. Advocacy focus:
- Engage in legislative and policy initiatives at the local, state, and federal levels that seek to advance racial justice, including written and oral testimony on local (Baltimore City Council), state (Maryland General Assembly) and federal legislative bills as well as public comments on proposed rules, policies, and procedures.
- Author amicus briefs in state courts (in Maryland and elsewhere) and federal courts (in Maryland and elsewhere) in cases involving or otherwise related to issues of race and justice.
- Partner with law firms, legal services organizations, and race centers at other law schools in these efforts.
- Develop community education projects to enhance civic inclusion, such as partnering with stakeholders to create toolkits and templates for legislative advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels.
Race & National Security Book Launch & Conference
Friday, November 17, 2023 - 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Frederick Douglass - Isaac Myers Maritime Park Living Classrooms Foundation
The Gibson-Banks Center is cohosting conference on the recently published book, Race and National Security, edited by Professor Matiangai Sirleaf. The conference will explore the role of race and racism and how they function in subtle and unsubtle ways.
February 12, 2023 – The Gibson-Banks Center is hosting a law school anchor event, featuring Professor Orisanmi Burton (American University, Department of Anthropology) discussing his book, Tip of the Speak: Black Radicalism, Prison Repression, and the Long Attica Revolt (University of California Press, 2023).
May 2024 – Professor Michael Pinard (Faculty Director, Gibson-Banks Center) to speak at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer’s 7th Annual Seminar, Race Matters: Addressing the Intersection of Race in the Criminal Legal System.
Renée Hutchins, the Dean of Maryland Carey Law, is a leading expert in the United States on the Fourth Amendment. Her scholarship has focused on various ways in which race intersects with the Fourth Amendment, including racial profiling and stop-and-frisk. Dean Hutchins is committed to launching the new center in the fall of 2023, which will align with the law school’s cherished Black Law Alumni Reunion tradition that has been hosted every five years since 2003.
Michael Pinard, the Francis & Harriet Iglehart Professor of Law, is a national leader on issues related to race and the criminal legal system. He is the intellectual and visionary lead behind the law school’s efforts to create this new center. He has defined and conceptualized the Center’s Tools for Transformation including Education and Engagement, Research, and Advocacy which will examine, engage, and address persistent issues of inequality and injustice.
Larry Gibson, the Morton & Sophia Macht Professor of Law, is a legal historian who has written one of the definitive biographies of Thurgood Marshall and will soon release a second book about Justice Marshall. He teaches seminars on Thurgood Marshall and race and the law. He has curated several exhibits on the history of Black lawyers in Maryland. On the Maryland Carey Law faculty since 1974, Gibson has indeed demonstrated strong leadership both within and outside of the law school.
Taunya Lovell Banks, Jacob A. France Professor of Equality Jurisprudence, taught her final class at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in fall 2021. The legendary critical race theory scholar and first tenured Black woman on the law school faculty retired after an illustrious career in which she trained her sharp scholarship on exposing systemic sexism and racism and inspired generations of students and colleagues to dedicate their legal careers to the fight for social justice.
News & Notes
The Gibson-Banks Center is a member organization of the Maryland Equitable Justice Collaborative (MEJC), formed by Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown and Maryland Public Defender Natasha Dartigue to address mass incarceration in Maryland. Professor Michael Pinard, Faculty Director, Gibson-Banks Center, has been selected to serve on the MEJC.
Brandon Miller, Erek L. Barron Fellow, attends Criminal Justice Reform Partnership Convening at the University of Baltimore School of Law.
Support the Center
Help us build this important initiative from the ground up by making a tax-deductible gift to the Gibson-Banks Center for Race and the Law today. Make a gift online or contact Andrew Altshuler, Deputy Director of Development, at (410) 706-6832 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss other ways to give.