In Conversation with Michelle Alexander

Prof. Fannie Bialek discusses the state of legal and social movements against mass incarceration with the best-selling author, legal scholar, and social justice activist.



Graham Chapel at Washington University in St. Louis

One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130

The John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics is honored to host Professor Michelle Alexander for a public conversation on the state of legal and social movements against mass incarceration. Since the publication in 2010 of Alexander’s sea-changing book The New Jim Crow, millions more Americans have been incarcerated in prisons and jails, sometimes held for years without a trial. But American conversations about incarceration have changed, with growing abolitionist movements as well as state and federal initiatives for carceral reform. Alexander’s work has done much to bring these issues to light.

Professor Fannie Bialek will ask Alexander about the state of legal and social movements for carceral reform and prison abolition and their invigoration of religious activism for social change. There will also be time for audience Q&A and a reception immediately following in nearby Umrath Lounge.

We hope you will join us in person or online for this Danforth Distinguished Lecture. Graham Chapel is open seating and doors will open at 6:00 p.m.

Free and open to all.

Please RSVP to if you plan to join us in Graham Chapel or register to join us via Zoom at

Please note there will not be a recording available after the event due to contractual limitations with our speaker.

About Michelle Alexander
Michelle Alexander brings audiences profoundly necessary and meaningful insights on the practice of mass incarceration that plagues the U.S. justice system, as well as eye-opening conversation on how we can end racial caste in America.

In her acclaimed best-seller, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle peels back the curtain on systemic racism in the American prison system, which the New York Review of Books described as “striking in the intelligence of her ideas, her powers of summary, and the force of her writing.” With equal force and candor on stage, she breaks the silence about racial injustice in the modern legal system to reveal how mass incarceration has come to replace segregation.

Michelle, a legal scholar, social justice advocate, columnist at The New York Times and visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary, explores the myths surrounding our criminal justice system from a racial and ethical standpoint, and offers solutions for combating this epidemic. Delivering an emphatic wake-up call from the “colorblind slumber” that our country has fallen under, she leaves audiences with a new perspective on the challenges facing the civil rights community and a rousing call-to-action for a multi-racial, multi-ethnic human rights movement for justice in America.

Please contact us at or (314) 935-9345 with questions.


  • Michelle Alexander

  • Fannie Bialek

    Assistant Professor of Religion and Politics