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Bryan Stevenson

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Information about Bryan Stevenson

Profile image of Bryan Stevenson

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Lawyer
Nonprofit Legal Director

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Hot And Sour Soup
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
The Opposite Of Poverty Is Not Wealth, The Opposite Of Poverty Is Justice.

Birthplace

Born:
11/14/1959
Birth Location:
Milton, Delaware

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Lawyer
Nonprofit Legal Director

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Hot And Sour Soup
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
The Opposite Of Poverty Is Not Wealth, The Opposite Of Poverty Is Justice.

Birthplace

Born:
11/14/1959
Birth Location:
Milton
See how Bryan Stevenson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Lawyer and nonprofit executive Bryan Stevenson was born on November 14, 1959 in Milton, Delaware to Alice Gertrude Golden Stevenson and Howard Carlton Stevenson, Sr. In 1977, Stevenson graduated from Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, Delaware. He went on to earn his B.A. degree in philosophy from Easter University in St. David, Pennsylvania in 1981. In 1985, Stevenson received both his M.A. degree in public policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School and his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School, and worked as an intern at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia.

Stevenson returned to the Southern Center for Human Rights as an attorney upon graduating in 1985. He worked on the infamous McClesky v. Kemp (1987) case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Warren McClesky’s death penalty sentence. In 1989, the Southern Center for Human Rights appointed Stevenson as its director. When government funding for the Southern Center for Human Rights was reduced in 1994, Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit law center in Montgomery, Alabama funded by Stevenson’s MacArthur Fellowship. Stevenson’s work focused on eliminating the death penalty and life-without-parole sentencing for minors. He became a clinical professor at New York University School of Law in 1998, achieving full-time status in 2002. Stevenson’s 2012 TED talk, and eventual memoir Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (2014), catapulted him to fame. In 2013, he placed markers commemorating slave trading sites in Montgomery, despite resistance from the state government. Stevenson expanded the Equal Justice Initiative to erect memorials to lynchings in Alabama, and founded the From Slavery to Mass Incarceration museum that opened in Montgomery in 2017.

Stevenson successfully argued a number of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and received many honors for his work in prison reform. In 2000, he won the Olof Palme Prize, and in 2009, Stevenson received the Gruber Justice Prize from the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation. Stevenson was a recipient of the Four Freedoms Award from the Roosevelt Institute in 2011 and in 2014, he won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction from the American Library Association, for his memoir Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. Stevenson was a recipient of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction in 2015.

Bryan Stevenson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 30, 2016.

See how Bryan Stevenson is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bryan Stevenson's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bryan Stevenson lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bryan Stevenson describes his maternal great-grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bryan Stevenson describes the history of racial violence in rural Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bryan Stevenson describes the origin of his family names
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bryan Stevenson describes his mother's education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bryan Stevenson describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bryan Stevenson describes his parents' courtship
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bryan Stevenson describes the culture of southern Delaware
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Bryan Stevenson describes his parents' personalities and his likeness to them
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Bryan Stevenson lists his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Bryan Stevenson describes his maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Bryan Stevenson remembers the Prospect A.M.E. Church in Georgetown, Delaware
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Bryan Stevenson recalls lessons from his maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Bryan Stevenson talks about segregation in rural Delaware
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bryan Stevenson remembers the H.O. Brittingham Elementary School in Milton, Delaware
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bryan Stevenson describes his interest in music
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bryan Stevenson talks about the war on drugs
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bryan Stevenson remembers Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, Delaware
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bryan Stevenson describes his early aspirations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bryan Stevenson recalls the murder of his maternal grandfather
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bryan Stevenson describes the Main Line neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bryan Stevenson recalls attending Eastern College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bryan Stevenson recalls the influence of progressive theology at Eastern College in St. Davids, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Bryan Stevenson talks about his musical aspirations
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bryan Stevenson recalls his admission to Harvard Law School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bryan Stevenson describes his transition to Harvard Law School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bryan Stevenson remembers his disinterest in corporate law
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bryan Stevenson recalls his introduction to the Southern Prisoners Defense Committee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bryan Stevenson remembers his first meeting with a prisoner on death row
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bryan Stevenson describes his work for Southern Prisoners Defense Committee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bryan Stevenson talks about the history of capital punishment law, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bryan Stevenson talks about the history of capital punishment law, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Bryan Stevenson describes his experiences of police brutality
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bryan Stevenson talks about policing in the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bryan Stevenson talks about the history of mass incarceration
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bryan Stevenson describes the U.S. Supreme Court decision of McCleskey v. Kemp
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bryan Stevenson describes the case of Walter McMillian