United by Giving, Sustained by the Past, Guided by Truth.
The Washington University Black Law Students Association (WashU BLSA) was founded in 1973. Each year over thirty Washington University Law School students become active members of our chapter. Today, WashU BLSA continues to stay committed to the development and support of Blacks in the legal profession.
Each year, WashU BLSA gains the many talents and strengths of its members to serve both the Law School and the greater St. Louis community. BLSA offers academic, professional, and social programs throughout the year. Additionally, we volunteer our time to community activism efforts, professional development workshops, social activities, cultural events, recruitment and retention outreach, alumni relations, and professional mentorship opportunities.
NBLSA’s Societal Impact is Enormous.
In 1968, Algernon Johnson “A.J.” Cooper, former mayor of Prichard Alabama, founded the Black American Law Students Association (BLSA) at the New York University’s Law School. BLSA’s purpose was to effectuate change in the legal system. The association endeavored to sensitize the law and legal profession to the ever-increasing needs of the Black community. This commitment has never wavered.
In 1983, BLSA revised its name. The word “American” was deleted to encompass all Blacks who were not of American nationality. Later, the word “National” was added to reflect the extent to which the organization had expanded.
Today, the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), the largest student-run organization in America, has over 200 chapters at law schools throughout the country. This represents almost every ABA accredited law school, plus several non-accredited law schools. These chapters represent over 6,000 Black law students in six regions that encompass 48 states including Hawaii and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Recently, NBLSA established international links with Black law students in Canada, England, and South Africa who decided to model their student organizations after NBLSA.
NBLSA’s societal impact is enormous. In its effort to remain responsive to the needs of the Black community in general and Black law students in particular, the NBLSA has initiated organizations that have goals and objectives analogous to its own.
NBLSA continues to conduct its prestigious Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition and expand its national Adopt-A-School Program. In addition, through its Nelson Mandela Scholarship Program, NBLSA awards six scholarships of over $500.00 each to Black law students annually. With emphasis on economic self-help, abolishing apartheid, and forwarding a progressive civil rights position, NBLSA continues its strong ties with the National Bar Association, the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, and the National Black Leadership Roundtable.