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W&L Law Review Publishes Issue Showcasing Black Authors

The W&L Law Review has published a first‑ever volume dedicated to showcasing the work of Black authors.

All of the featured articles are the products of two writing workshops, the Lutie A. Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Workshop and Writing Retreat and the John Mercer Langston Black Male Law Faculty Writing Workshop. W&L Law professor Carliss Chatman, who hosts a summer retreat at W&L for participants of both workshops, provided a foreword for the volume.

“Law review inclusivity lags behind law schools, even at law schools with laudable diversity numbers,” said Chatman. “I am very proud of our students at Washington and Lee for recognizing these inequalities and taking this step to ensure that Law Review always creates space for Black voices.”

The inaugural Black Scholars Book, Volume 78, Issue 5, includes the following articles:

  • Tammi Etheridge’s “What’s the Beef? The FDA, USDA, and Cell-Cultured Meat”
  • Marissa Jackson Sow’s “Whiteness as Contract”
  • John White’s “Civil Rights Law Equity: An Introduction to a Theory of What Civil Rights Has Become”
  • Najarian Peters’ “The Golem in the Machine: FERPA, Dirty Data, and Digital Distortion in the Education Record”

Both Chatman and W&L Law professor Brandon Hasbrouck ‘11L, who was himself the first Black Editor‑in Chief of Law Review and currently serves as faculty advisor, were instrumental in helping launch the volume.

“Many speak of antiracism, but to affirmatively engage in that work in material and substantive ways is the only way to transform institutions,” said Hasbrouck. “I am proud of our law review. They are leading the way in building a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable journal—from membership to scholarship selection and everything in between.”

The Black Scholars Book is one of several efforts undertaken by the Law Review Upper Board in recent years to build inclusiveness and diversity on Law Review. The Board instituted a third-year write on option for upper level students, added a diversity statement to the initial write-on process, and created a dedicated, diversity-focused board position, the Managing Inclusion Editor. That position is held this year by Cindy Moon ’22L.

“Amplifying Black voices is powerful and important work,” said Moon. “Law Review is committed to doing so with all the books that we publish, including this one. Though there is far more work to do, we are excited to make progress toward a more mindful and inclusive journal.”

The inaugural Black Scholars Book is available online at the W&L Law Scholarly Commons.