Saint Louis University Public Law Review, Saint Louis University School of Law, Saint Louis University
January 1, 1998
My task is to give a brief history of the creation of the National Equal Justice Library, the nation's new - and only - repository for the history of legal assistance to the poor.
My task is to give a brief history of the creation of the National Equal Justice Library, the nation’s new – and only – repository for the history of legal assistance to the poor. I also hope to make a case to Legal Services lawyers, public defenders, bar leaders and community members who support them that attending to history, as the National Equal Justice Library does, makes a difference in their professional lives.
Lawyers’ history is not a frill for legal aid and defender practice, or a concession to movement “old-timers” who want to wax poetic about the “olden days” when courageous lawyers for the poor made a profound difference in the law. Rather, it must be a critical concern of a movement that wants to continue to be understood as progressive in the largest sense of the word.
Part of the work of the Library and other history centers must be to tell truth to power: to make society see what it has done to poor people, over and over again. Part of it must be to tell truth to the truth-tellers: to locate pretension and neglect in the provision of legal services to the poor, to understand how lawyers have failed the poor and have contributed to their circumstances, to understand the true relationship of visionary demand and practical compromise. Remembrance that is clean, that celebrates without distorting the past, that confesses failure and commits to amends, sustains a future for the poor and their lawyers.
PUBLICATION DETAILSFormat: Research
Publication Type: Journal Article
Geographic coverage, US: NATIONAL
Topics: Legal Aid Movement | Social Change | History of Legal Aid | Public Interest Litigation | Systemic Litigation
Permalink URL of this page: http://legalaidresearch.org/?p=3864
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