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Long Road to Hard Truth: The 100-Year Mission to Create the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Friday, January 25, 2019,

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  • Location: Vanderbilt Law School • 131 21st Ave South • Nashville, TN 37203
  • Room: Flynn Auditorium

Wilkins book cover and headshotYou are invited to attend “A Conversation” with Judge Robert L. Wilkins as part of the Branstetter Judicial Speaker Series hosted by the law school's dean’s office on Friday, January 25, 2018 at noon in Vanderbilt Law School’s Flynn Auditorium. Judge Wilkins will discuss his book, Long Road to Hard Truth:  The 100-Year Mission to Create the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This event is free and open to the public; lunch will be served.

Judge Robert L. Wilkins of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit played a key role in the establishment of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, serving as the Chairman of the Site and Building Committee of the Presidential Commission. His work led to the Congressional authorization of the museum and the selection of its location.

Judge Wilkins was appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in 2010 and to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2014. A native of Muncie, Indiana, he obtained a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 1986 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1989. Following law school, Judge Wilkins served as a law clerk to Judge Earl B. Gilliam of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. In 1990, he joined the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where he served first as a staff attorney in the trial and appellate divisions and later for several years as Special Litigation Chief. In 2002, he joined the law firm of Venable as a partner, handling white-collar defense, intellectual property and complex civil litigation matters. During his tenure with the Public Defender Service and in private practice, Judge Wilkins served as the lead plaintiff in Wilkins, et al. v. State of Maryland, a landmark civil rights lawsuit that inspired nationwide legislative and executive reform of police stop-and-search practices and the collection of data regarding those practices.

Visitors should park in the Terrace Place Garage, spaces 41-92, at the corner of 21st Ave. South and Terrace Place, or the Wesley Place Garage, spaces 52-170, at the corner of 21st Ave. South and Scarritt Place.  Parking costs range from $4.00 to $12.00 at these garages.  Both are within walking distance of the law school.