Ropes & Gray Celebrates Black History Month with Two Scholar-Led Discussions on Cultural Collaboration for Social Justice

In The News
February 28, 2019
Alexsandra Mitchell

On Tuesday, Feb. 26, Ropes & Gray concluded its Black History Month celebrations with two presentations broadcast live to several offices about cross-cultural collaboration for social justice featuring two renowned scholars, Alexsandra Mitchell and William H. “Smitty” Smith.

Brooklyn-based international research scholar Alexsandra Mitchell, whose work explores the African diaspora, spirituality and the arts, was joined in conversation by Jasmine McElroy, diversity and inclusion specialist at Ropes & Gray, in the firm’s New York office. Ms. Mitchell, a reference librarian and archivist at the Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture, shared photographs from the archives of key historical figures from the African Diaspora. Ms. Mitchell also shared an episode of the Schomburg Center’s “Live from the Reading Room: Correspondence” podcast series, which featured a letter from Civil Rights Activist, dancer, singer, and actress Josephine Baker to Japanese journalist Sumio Matasuo.


In the firm’s Boston office, litigation & enforcement partner Rob Roberts was joined in conversation by Dr. William H. “Smitty” Smith, the founding executive director of Wheelock College’s National Center for Race Amity, which develops forums and initiatives to advance cross-racial and cross-cultural amity that impact the public discourse on race. Dr. Smith shared an excerpt from the PBS series “An American Story: Race Amity and The Other Tradition,” which he both writes and produces. The segment focused on the friendship and collaboration between American abolitionist Frederick Douglass and Daniel O’Connell, an Irish political leader who played a significant role in the movement to end slavery. Dr. Smith commented that what brought these two men together was their “shared moral compass.” Dr. Smith’s documentary series and corresponding books are distributed to middle and high schools to help teach moral reasoning skills.

Group Photo