Cornell William Brooks, former president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), civil rights attorney, and ordained minister has joined Harvard Kennedy School as professor of the practice of public leadership and social justice. He is the first leader of a national civil rights organization to join the Kennedy School’s senior faculty.

Brooks will teach courses, advise students, and launch and direct The William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice at the School’s Center for Public Leadership. He will also be a visiting scholar at Harvard Divinity School.

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“We are delighted that Cornell William Brooks will bring his unique background in civil rights law, policy and activism to the Kennedy School,” said Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf. “The William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice will be a focal point for students and faculty from across Harvard University who are interested in teaching, research, and achieving excellence in the practice of social justice. Under Cornell’s guidance—and drawing upon his experience and knowledge—we expect the collaborative to have a transformational impact on our ability to prepare students to be leaders in public service and social justice.”

The vision for the Trotter Social Justice Collaborative is that it will promote excellence in the practice of social justice by supporting applied research and the use of evidence in advocacy and activism. The collaborative will connect faculty, students, scholars, practitioners, nonprofit institutions, and institutions of faith—providing research and field-based learning opportunities to faculty and students, and providing leaders of local and national organizations with ideas, policy expertise, and best practices to maximize their impact on social justice. Thus, the collaborative will serve as a public policy and public leadership clinic for social justice. The collaborative honors the legacy of William Monroe Trotter, the first African-American Phi Beta Kappa graduate  of Harvard, founder of the Niagara Movement, founding influence of the NAACP, and a pioneering activist.

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