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Harvard Law Professor Kenneth Mack-Second-annual John L. Gedid lecture brings talk of race and the law to Harrisburg Favorite
An audience of roughly 300 people gathered for a lecture on the history of race and the law in Harrisburg recently when city native and Harvard Law Professor Kenneth Mack delivered the second-annual John L. Gedid lecture.
Mack spent an hour discussing W. Justin Carter, the first attorney of color to practice in Harrisburg and how he transcended race when it came to life in the courtroom. The Feb. 14 speech was something of a homecoming for Mack, who grew up in the Allison Hill area of Harrisburg and attended Harrisburg High School before graduating from Central Dauphin East.
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Mack, one of the country?s leading scholars on the history of the civil rights movement and the history of African-American lawyering, explained that when Carter began practicing law in Harrisburg in the late 1800s he had an opportunity to show white people something they would otherwise not see outside court: a black attorney being treated as an equal to white attorneys. ?In an era of segregation what was quite jarring about a black lawyer was he was allowed to go into court and do what black people were not allowed to do ? question white witnesses,? Mack said. Carter was very good at his work and many white clients sought his services.