Civil rights activist Justin Hansford appointed Executive Director of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard

Hansford will “put his passion and knowledge to work to empower marginalized communities.”

Justin Hansford is joining the Howard law faculty as Associate Professor of Law and Executive Director of the new Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center. Professor Hansford was previously a Democracy Project Fellow at Harvard University, a Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, and an Associate Professor of Law at Saint Louis University. He has a B.A. from Howard University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a founder of the Georgetown Journal of Law and Modern Critical Race Perspectives. Professor Hansford also has received a Fulbright Scholar award to study the legal career of Nelson Mandela, and served as a clerk for Judge Damon J. Keith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. 

Professor Hansford is a leading scholar and activist in the areas of critical race theory, human rights, and law and social movements. He is a co-author of the forthcoming Seventh Edition of Race, Racism and American Law, the celebrated legal textbook that was the first casebook published specifically for teaching race related law courses. His interdisciplinary scholarship has appeared in academic journals at various universities, including Harvard, Georgetown, Fordham, and the University of California at Hastings.

In the wake of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Hansford worked to empower the Ferguson community through community based legal advocacy. He co-authored the Ferguson to Geneva human rights shadow report and accompanied the Ferguson protesters and Mike Brown’s family to Geneva, Switzerland, to testify at the United Nations. He has served as a policy advisor for proposed post-Ferguson reforms at the local, state, and federal level, testifying before the Ferguson Commission, the Missouri Advisory Committee to the United States Civil Rights Commission, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Dean Danielle Holley-Walker stated, “We are thrilled to have Justin Hansford join the Howard law faculty. He is a scholar who puts his passion and knowledge to work to empower marginalized communities. He will lead the Thurgood Marshall Center with an eye towards community-driven legal work that promotes positive change all over this country through criminal justice reform, the expansion of access to educational opportunity, and the pursuit of immigrant rights, human rights, and economic empowerment for marginalized communities. I am confident that, under his leadership, the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center will soon become an intellectual and legal hub for the post-Ferguson movement to liberate Black Lives.”

The Center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017. Hansford will arrive on campus in August to begin his new job.

Professor Hansford is available for media interviews and may be contacted at (202) 806-8082 or by email at 

Donations to the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center are now being accepted. To donate, click here.