On October 16, 1970, Black law students at UVA founded a BLSA chapter to advocate for issues of racial justice. Major priorities included hiring Black faculty members and increasing Black student enrollment. One year earlier, in 1969, the largest number of Black students in one class—13 out of a total of 341—entered the Law School. This pivotal year, amid the Civil Rights Movement and in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., provided the urgent and necessary moment for BLSA’s founding.
On this 50th anniversary and in celebration of Black History Month 2021, BLSA and the UVA Law Library are proud to launch this collaborative project on BLSA’s history and legacy.
The five sections of this exhibit showcase the history and legacy of the Black Law Students Association at the University of Virginia School of Law.
This website is an interactive digital exhibit designed to celebrate UVA BLSA’s rich history of community, advocacy, and service. The mission of the National Black Law Students Association, which has been adopted by our local UVA chapter, is to “increase the number of culturally responsible Black and minority attorneys who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.” For 50 years, the Black Law Students Association at UVA Law has operated with this mission in mind, all while advocating relentlessly for more favorable circumstances for generations to come. Throughout the years, BLSA students have broken down barriers, served international communities, won awards, and pushed for meaningful change in the law school. As current students, we walk in the footsteps of our illustrious alumni, in hopes of carrying on the torch and setting the stage for incoming BLSA students. As we celebrate 50 years of UVA BLSA, we are deeply grateful for this legacy.
Allison Burns ’22
To commemorate UVA BLSA’s fiftieth anniversary, current BLSA members shared their thoughts on what BLSA means to them in this video, released in October 2020.