Author, Law Professor Anita Hill to Reflect on "Choosing America's Better History" at Bennington Center for the Arts on April 23

April 22, 2009

In 1991, Anita Hill was thrust into the public spotlight when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearing. The legacy of her testimony includes an increased awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace today. Hill, now a law professor at Brandeis University, has continued to speak widely on social and political issues facing our world. On Thursday, April 23, at the Bennington Center for the Arts, she reflected on a premise from President Barack Obama’s inaugural address in a lecture open to the public entitled, “Choosing America’s Better History: The Supreme Court, Civil Rights and the Promise of Citizenship.”

 Anita Hill’s visit to Vermont was part of the annual Four Colleges Issues Forum, sponsored by Bennington College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Southern Vermont College and Williams College. Prior to the upcoming lecture, the four colleges held related learning events, including a gathering of students and faculty to discuss Hill’s 1995 biography, “Speaking Truth to Power.” The April 23 lecture was free and open to the public, with a brief reception following. Seating for this event was limited and tickets were required and were made available at BCA’s box office by calling 802-442-7158.    

Hill has taught law and social policy for 25 years and has lectured in the U.S. and abroad. She has also written commentary for Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and Ms. Magazine and appears regularly on programs including Good Morning America, Meet the Press, The Today Show and Larry King Live. 

Inspired by President Obama’s inaugural speech in which he asked every American “to choose our better history,” Hill’s talk explored the role of the Supreme Court and other federal courts in enforcing civil rights and passing on the promise of meaningful citizenship from generation to generation. Her talk addressed how this administration can choose members of the federal courts, including a Supreme Court Justice, in ways that promote equality and diversity. 

Southern Vermont College President Karen Gross, a former full-time law professor who worked with Professor Hill, remarked, “We are honored to welcome Anita Hill to our community. For many of us, her powerful testimony at the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings is seared in our memories. We look forward to hearing her reflections on the past and her thoughts for improving our future at this extraordinary time in our nation’s history. I am delighted that students, faculty and staff from the institutions participating in the Four College Issues Forum will have an opportunity to meet Professor Hill and listen to her inspiring personal and professional story.”  

A faculty member at Brandeis University, Hill is currently on leave as a visiting scholar at Wellesley College where she is working on an analysis of the more than 20,000 letters and e-mails she has received since the Thomas hearings. 

Hill is the recipient of many awards, grants and honorary degrees. She received the Ford Hall Forum’s First Amendment Award for promotion of race and gender equality and the Fletcher Fellowship for work aimed at ending educational disparities among poor and minority students. She also holds positions in many civic organizations, including Tufts Medical Center, National Women’s Law Center and the Boston Area Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.