Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Chair of Public Interest Law
B.A., Howard University; J.D., Rutgers University School of Law.
Professor Henderson is the first Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Chair of Public Interest Law, a position established at UDC-DCSL in 1999. Joseph Rauh, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously by President Clinton, was one of the foremost civil rights and civil liberties lawyers of his time, and instrumental in the founding of the District of Columbia's public law school.
Professor Henderson also serves as President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund. He is well known for his expertise on a wide range of civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights issues. He works principally in the areas of civil rights enforcement; voting rights; public education reform; fair housing policy; immigration policy reform; media and telecommunication policy; economic and political empowerment for people of color, women, persons with disabilities, and the poor. Under his leadership, The Leadership Conference has become one of the nation's most effective defenders of federal affirmative action policy and one of the strongest advocates for passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
Since taking the helm of The Leadership Conference in June 1996, Professor Henderson has worked diligently to address emerging policy issues of concern to the civil rights community and to strengthen the effectiveness of the coalition. Professor Henderson is actively involved with the newly reconstituted National Quality Forum Board of Directors that seeks to improve healthcare quality through performance measurement and public reporting; and the FDIC Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion, which was created in 2006 to provide the FDIC with advice and recommendations on important initiatives focused on expanding access to banking services by under-served populations. He also leads an effort to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), legislation to revive the right of workers to organize unions.
Prior to his role with The Leadership Conference, Professor Henderson was the Washington Bureau Director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In that capacity, he directed the government affairs and national legislative program of the NAACP. He was previously the Associate Director of the Washington national office of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where he began his career as a legislative counsel and advocate on a wide range of civil rights and civil liberties issues. He also served as Executive Director of the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO).
Professor Henderson is a graduate of Howard University and the Rutgers University School of Law. He is a member of the Bar in the District of Columbia, New Jersey, and the United States Supreme Court. As a tireless civil rights leader and advocate, Professor Henderson has received countless awards and honors. He holds an honorary Doctorate in Law from Queens College School of Law, City University of New York. He is the author of numerous articles on civil rights and public policy.