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About BlackLetter

Our Work

Originally founded in 1983 as an internal publication of the Black Law Students Association, the Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal—known from 2009 to 2018 as the Harvard Journal on Racial & Ethnic Justice—is an annual publication edited by students at Harvard Law School.

The Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal is a forum for activists, lawyers, those who are or who have been incarcerated, scholars, and others to confront cutting-edge issues facing Black communities.

The Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal (BLJ) focuses on struggles against anti-Blackness and challenges ideas about who can legitimately produce knowledge related to law. The Journal features work by people writing from many different experiences, on a range of topics, and in a variety of forms, including poetry, essays, visual art, songs, and other forms of expression. BLJ, therefore, publishes work by and for activists, artists, currently and formerly incarcerated people, lawyers, professors, and many others.

As BLJ looks beyond the status quo, it also looks backward to our Journal’s history and to longer traditions of Black radicalism. We honor and extend the mission at BLJ’s founding in 1983 to challenge anti-Blackness, participate in activism around knowledge production, and engage collective struggle for liberation. 




“The history of blackness is a testament to the fact that objects can and do resist.” – Fred Moten

About Us

Subscriptions include a copy of the most recent volume, a special invitation to all events including our annual symposium, and periodic updates through our email list. View prices and subscribe through the Harvard Law School student journals office.

Past volumes are available exclusively from William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 1285 Main Street, Buffalo, NY, 14209, 1-800-828-7571, Contact William S. Hein & Co. for information on prices for bound volumes.

To request copyright permissions for the journal, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center.

Manuscripts may be submitted for review at In addition to the full text, authors should submit a current CV and an optional cover letter. Footnotes should conform to The Bluebook (20th ed. 2015). We look forward to hearing from you!

Editorial Staff 2019-2020

Julian Nunally, Editor-in-Chief
Felipe Hernandez, Managing Editor
Libby Bova, Executive Board Coordinator
Audrey Berdahl-Baldwin, Executive Editor
Kennedi Williams-Libert, Executive Editor
Amanda Chan, Online Editor
Vail Kohnert-Yount, Online Editor
Jason Collin, Editor
Emily Chazen, Editor
James Ramsey, Editor
Jackie Salwa, Editor
Dylan Victor Asafo Jr., Editor
Lilianna Rembar, Editor
Oliva Castor, Editor
Erick Hannah, Editor
Kearney Coghlan, Editor
Tyler Ambrose, Editor
Zoe Russell, Editor
James Payne, Editor
Sean Lau, Editor
Nnamdi Jogwe, Editor
Kara Cobb, Editor


What is now the BlackLetter Law Journal, used to be the Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice which originally started as the Blackletter, a community newsletter for Black students at Harvard Law School.

In 1975, Blackletter was founded as a community newsletter for Black students at HLS. The project was supported by then-BLSA-President Loretta Argrett, as part of her effort to lead BLSA in doing more community service projects. (Ogletree, From Dred Scott to Barack Obama: The Ebb and Flow of Race Jurisprudence, 7)

Then, in the early 1980s, Blackletter puts activism “at the heart and soul of the blacks students’ agenda” by reflecting the pressing issues Blacks on campus fought for at the time, such as faculty diversity. It also played a role in forming the first-ever HLS Black Alumni Association (Ogletree, From Dred Scott to Barack Obama: The Ebb and Flow of Race Jurisprudence, 7)

In the mid-1980s, the newsletter transitioned into a full-fledged academic journal: The Blackletter Law Journal. It maintained a strong focus on the Harvard community and its surroundings


In 1984, The Blackletter Law Journal was founded. It was affiliated with BLSA, and focused on critical legal theory, racial justice writing, and topics like affirmative action. (Harvard Law Record, October 5 1973). The Journal focused on creating a forum for writing, dialogue on issues affecting Black community, with the aim of promoting racial equality. It also included info on meetings, public events, political events, speakers, social events, job opportunities, Big Brother/Big Sister events. (Ogletree, Harvard Blackletter Journal: Celebrating a Decade of Excellence, 2). 

Read the full history of the Blackletter Law Journal here! 

Support innovative legal scholarship on racial and ethnic justice.

Volume 36

Volume 36 A Note from the Editors The Editors A Note from the Editor-in-Chief Julian Nunally Demons, Savages, and Sovereigns: On Whiteness and Law James Ramsey Belinda (Say her name) Kiah Duggins What the Hair: Employment Discrimination Against Black People Based on...

2020 Call for Content

DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO DEC. 31 The Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal (HBLJ) is excited to announce the 2020 Call for Content for our 37th volume. HBLJ is looking for submissions from activists, organizers, community members, incarcerated or formerly incarcerated...

Full History of Blackletter Law Journal

Unlike many other journals, Blackletter/JREJ has published a wide range of content over time. At its inception, as a newsletter, it curated political commentary and opinion pieces, but also ads for local businesses and events relevant to Blacks at and around Harvard....

Volume 35

Volume 35

Volume 35 A Note from the Editors The Editors Capitalism, Anti-Blackness, and the Law: A Very Short History Jonathon Booth Coldest Winter Ever Amanda “330” Carter Black, White & Blue Shannon Cumberbatch The Great Rural Boon: Racial Politics and the Criminalization of...

2019 Call for Content

2019 Call for Content

We at the Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal (HBLJ), formerly the Harvard Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice, are excited to announce our 2019 Call for Content. HBLJ is looking for submissions from activists, those who are or have been incarcerated, lawyers,...

2018 Call for Content!

2018 Call for Content!

The Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal (HBLJ), formerly the Harvard Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice, is excited to announce its 2018 Call for Content. HBLJ is looking for submissions from activists, those who are or have been incarcerated, lawyers, organizers,...

Spring Subcite and Board Applications

Spring Subcite and Board Applications

Board Applications Applications for the 2018-2019 JREJ board are open and can be found here. Applications are due Sunday, April 1, by midnight. Our interest meeting will be held in the journal office on Thursday, March 29, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. Come by and learn more...

10/27/17 | HLS Bicentennial Symposium

10/27/17 | HLS Bicentennial Symposium

JREJ is proudly co-sponsoring four events at the Harvard Law School Bicentennial Symposium on October 27, 2017. 9:00 AM | Criminal Justice Reform and Advocacy Through Storytelling with Lesley Harris 9:00 AM | Critical Legal Movements and Harvard Law School with Nancy...