John Powell is Director of the Haas Diversity Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.
Professor powell is a nationally recognized authority in the areas of civil rights, civil liberties and issues relating to race, poverty, and law. He teaches civil rights law, property law and jurisprudence and was recently appointed the Earl R. Larson Chair of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law at the University of Minnesota Law School. He is founder and former Executive Director of the Institute on Race & Poverty, at the University of Minnesota Law School. The Institute was created in 1993 to focus on dynamics created by the intersections of race and poverty. Its focus has always been on real issues that affect real people, including metropolitan equity issues, such as concentrated poverty, education, economic viability and urban sprawl.
Professor powell received his B.A. Degree from Stanford University and his J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall). After law school, he became an attorney with the Seattle Public Defender's Office. In 1977, he received an International Human Rights Fellowship from the University of Minnesota to work in Southern Africa, where he served as a consultant to the government of Mozambique. Professor powell later served as a staff attorney for Evergreen Legal Service and as director for Legal Services of Greater Miami.
From 1987 to 1993, he served as national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, where he was instrumental in developing educational adequacy theory. Professor powell has taught at Columbia University School of Law, Harvard Law School, University of Miami School of Law, American University and the University of San Francisco School of Law. He joined the University of Minnesota Law School faculty in 1993.
Professor powell is the author of many articles and books dealing with issues of race and poverty and how to make our society more equitable. He is a member of the National Legal Aid and Defender, the National Housing Law Center Association, and the National Bar Association. He is also a member of the American Bar Association's Commission on Homelessness and Poverty and serves on the Board of Directors of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC), and the Minnesota Supreme Court's Implementation Committee on Multicultural Diversity & Racial Fairness. He was the chair of the City of Minneapolis Affordable Housing Task Force.
He was recently featured in an article published in the fall issue of Colorlines Magazine entitled "What we need to do about the 'burbs." The article is on the magazine Web site at www.colorlines.com. Professor powell authored an article entitled "Achieving Racial Justice: What's Sprawl Got to Do with it?" in the September issue of Poverty & Race published by PRRAC. Many of his articles can be found in the News Articles section of the IRP Web site.