New Mitchell Hamline academic center will focus on Black life and the law

The intersection of the legal system and Black lives is the focus of a new initiative at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul. 

The Center for the Study of Black Life and the Law will launch later this year, and it's the first academic center of its kind in the nation.

An emerging voice on social justice, Mitchell Hamline Law School Professor T. Anansi Wilson is the founding director of a new academic center focused on the legal system and Black lives. 

"The idea of the center is to be a convening space," Wilson told FOX 9.

In the epicenter of a nationwide racial reckoning, The Center for the Study of Black Life and the Law comes nearly two years after the murder of George Floyd. 

Professor T. Anansi Wilson

"It seems that we’re living the same story on loop," said Wilson. "It seems like every 30 years, every 60 years, we’re having the same dialogue."

Exploring theory, policy and outcomes for Black Americans, the study is also seeking the untold stories.

"I think that there are many ways it could have impact if we’re being serious about listening to everyday community members that are having these interactions," said Wilson. "Whether they’re with the police, or whether they’re with their local government, whether they’re with housing authorities – that means we’re going to be able to tell a story about legal deficiencies."

Wilson sees the center as hopefully a tipping point. 

"I’m hoping that I can leave what Audre Lord has called not just a litany for survival, but a kind of itinerary for excellence for people to really do more than live, but to strive," Wilson said.

Looking to create a gathering space, the center will also offer curriculum to both students and the wider community and host speakers and events.