The New Yorker
REMEMBERING DERRICK BELL
As a longtime friend and colleague of Derrick Bell’s—Thurgood Marshall had us share a closet-size office while working at the Legal Defense Fund in the nineteen-sixties—I was moved by Jelani Cobb’s vivid portrait of Bell (“The Limits of Liberalism,”September 20th). Derrick never lost his ironic sense of humor or his willingness to mix personal commitment with a tolerance for disagreement. Though Derrick’s pessimism was perhaps bolstered by the judicial regressions that followed the few years of progress after Brown v. Board of Education, he once acknowledged to me that the Supreme Court had opened the door to a world of changes for Black people—just far too few to vanquish white supremacy.
Michael Meltsner Professor of Law Northeastern University Cambridge, Mass.
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