The Derrick Bell Reader

493 pages

August, 2005

ISBN: 9780814719701



Part of the Critical America series


Richard Delgado is John J. Sparkman Chair of Law at the University of Alabama and one of the founders of critical race theory. His books include The Latino/a Condition: A Critical Reader (co-edited with Jean Stefancic; New York University Press) and The Rodrigo Chronicles (New York University Press).

All books by Richard Delgado

Jean Stefancic is Professor and Clement Research Affiliate at the University of Alabama School of Law. Her books include No Mercy: How Conservative Think Tanks and Foundations Changed America’s Social Agenda and How Lawyers Lose Their Way: A Profession Fails Its Creative Minds

All books by Jean Stefancic

Lawyer, activist, teacher, writer: for over 40 years, Derrick Bell has provoked his critics and challenged his readers with uncompromising candor and progressive views on race and class in America. A founder of Critical Race Theory and pioneer of the use of allegorical stories as tools of analysis, Bell's groundbreaking work shatters conventional legal orthodoxies and turns comfortable majoritarian myths inside out.

Edited and with an extensive introduction by leading critical race theorists Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, The Derrick Bell Reader reflects the tremendous breadth of issues that Bell has grappled with over his phenomenal career, including affirmative action, black nationalism, legal education and ethics. Together, the selections offer the most complete collection of Derrick Bell's writing available today.


  • “A growing number of scholars have helped us understand the law’s impact on both the major events and the minutia of our daily lives. It's safe to say, however, that few do so with the provocative verve and vigor of Derrick Bell. This volume is a must read for long-time followers of Derrick Bell’s work as well as casual readers looking for material that is both intellectually stimulating and entertaining.”

    —Henry Louis Gates, Jr., co-author of The Future of the Race

  • “Finally, the essence of Derrick Bell as a scholar, teacher, and activist is captured in the Derrick Bell Reader. Bell’s remarkable career, as a civil rights attorney, scholar on race and justice, and activist promoting the rights of all citizens, is fully addressed. It is a great read.”

    —Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., author of All Deliberate Speed

  • “Derrick Bell’s impressive body of scholarship continues to inspire generations of readers by inviting them into an extended conversation between him and a community of people who gave life to his vision and generously shared their own wisdom in search of justice.”

    —Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres, co-authors of The Miner's Canary

  • “Biting, intense, full of dramatic surprises and brilliant insights, Bell’s work is the antidote to all the feel-good narratives of racial change.”

    —Duncan Kennedy, author of Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy

  • “For those who agree, or disagree, with Bell's radical departure from accepted racial notions, The Derrick Bell Reader offers plenty to dissect. The book could not have arrived at a better time.”

    —Brian Gilmore, Howard University School of Law