Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw (born 1959) is a prominent figure in Critical Race Theory and currently a professor at UCLA School of Law and Columbia Law School specializing in race and gender issues.
She was born in Canton, Ohio in 1959. She received a B.A. from Cornell in 1981, a J.D. from Harvard Law in 1984, an LL.M. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1985, and has been a part of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law faculty since 1986. At Cornell, she was a member of the Quill and Dagger society. She has published works on civil rights, black feminist legal theory, and race, racism, and the law. She often commentates on various aspects of law and racial politics and her scholarly interests center around race and the law. She is the founding coordinator of the intellectual movement called the Critical Race Theory Workshop. She is presently a Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia Law School and teaches Civil Rights and other courses in critical race studies and constitutional law. In 1991 and 1994, she was elected Professor of the Year. At the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she received her LL.M., Professor Crenshaw was a William H. Hastie Fellow. Later on, she clerked for Justice Shirley Abrahamson of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Crenshaw has published numerous works including Words that Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech and the First Amendment. She was also the coeditor of Critical Race Theory: Key Documents That Shaped the Movement and her works have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the National Black Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, and the Southern California Law Review. She has lectured nationally and internationally on race matters, addressing audiences throughout Europe, Africa, and South America as well as facilitating workshops for civil rights activists in Brazil and constitutional court judges in South Africa.
Her work on race and gender was influential in the drafting of the equality clause in the South African Constitution. In 2001, she wrote the background paper on Race and Gender Discrimination for the United Nations World Conference on Racism and helped to facilitate the addition of gender in the WCAR Conference Declaration. Crenshaw has also served as a member of the National Science Foundation's Committee to Research Violence Against Women and has assisted the legal team representing Anita Hill. She is also a founding member of the Women's Media Initiative and is a regular commentator on NPR's The Tavis Smiley Show. Crenshaw is known for her work in the late 1980s and early 1990s which was especially important in influencing and developing the idea of intersectionality.
Crenshaw is also co-founder, with Prof. Luke Harris, of the African American Policy Forum (AAPF). AAPF was founded in 1996. According to AAPF's mission statement: The Policy Forum is dedicated to advancing and expanding racial justice, gender equality, and the indivisibility of all human rights, both in the U.S. and internationally.