Bryan Stevenson

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Bryan Stevenson
Bryan Stevenson at TED 2012.jpg
Born (1959-11-14) 14 November 1959 (age 55)
Milton, Delaware
Nationality American
Alma mater Eastern University (B.A.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Harvard Kennedy School (M.P.P.)
Awards Reebok Human Rights Award
ACLU National Medal of Liberty
MacArthur Fellowship
Gleitsman Citizen Activist Award

Bryan A. Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a private, non-profit organization headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama, and is a professor at New York University School of Law. He has gained national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and minorities in the criminal justice system. Stevenson has assisted in securing relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, advocated for poor people and developed community-based reform litigation aimed at improving the administration of criminal justice.

A graduate of Eastern College (now Eastern University), Harvard Law School (J.D.), and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, he has won the American Bar Association's Wisdom Award for public service, the ACLU's National Medal of Liberty (1991), a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Award (1995), the Reebok Human Rights Award (1989), the Thurgood Marshall Medal of Justice (1993), the Gleitsman Citizen Activist Award (2000), the Olof Palme Prize (2000), Stanford Law School's National Public Service Award (2010),[1] and the National Association of Public Interest Lawyers named him the Public Interest Lawyer of the Year (1996). He has received honorary degrees from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and Georgetown University Law School. In addition to directing the Equal Justice Initiative, he has been a visiting professor of law at the University of Michigan School of Law and lecturer at Harvard and Yale Law Schools.

He is a co-recipient of the 2009 Gruber Prize for Justice. The Gruber Foundation Justice Prize is presented to individuals or organizations for contributions that have advanced the cause of justice as delivered through the legal system. The award is intended to acknowledge individual efforts, as well as to encourage further advancements in the field and progress toward bringing about a fundamentally just world. In 2010, the NAACP honored Stevenson by awarding him the William Robert Ming Advocacy Award for the spirit of financial and personal sacrifice displayed in his legal work.[2] Stevenson was the 2012 recipient of Smithsonian magazine's American Ingenuity Award in the Social Progress category.

He spoke at TED2012 in Long Beach, California, and received two standing ovations.[3] Following his presentation, over $1 million was raised by attendees to fund a campaign run by Stevenson to end the practice of putting children in adult jails and prisons. [4]

In December 2014, he was the Keynote speaker at the University of Pennsylvania "Race, Poverty and Change in America" Symposium commemorating the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education decision, sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, Center for Africana Studies and the Law School.

Stevenson was the guest ('castaway') on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs on 8 March 2015. [5]

On May 28, 2015, Stevenson was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science by Harvard University. [6]


  1. ^ "Levin Center Fall Public Service Awards Dinner". Stanford Law School's John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law. 2010-10-20. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  2. ^ "EJI Director Awarded Prestigious NAACP Ming Award for Advocacy". Equal Justice Initiative. 2010-07-12. Retrieved 2010-08-03. 
  3. ^ "All of our survival is tied to the survival of everyone: Bryan Stevenson at TED2012". TED. 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2012-03-06. 
  4. ^ "TED’s first response to Bryan Stevenson’s talk on injustice". TED. 2012-03-05. Retrieved 2012-03-06. 
  5. ^ "Desert Island Discs list of programmes.". 
  6. ^ "Ten to receive honorary degrees.". 


Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (New York: Spiegel & Grau), was published on October 21, 2014.

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