About USC Gould
USC Gould is a top-ranked law school with a 115-year history and reputation for academic excellence. We are located on the beautiful 228-acre USC University Park Campus, just south of downtown Los Angeles.
Learn about our interdisciplinary curriculum, experiential learning opportunities and specialized areas.
Participate in an unparalleled learning experience with diversity of people and thought. Get involved in the law school community and participate in activities that enhance your studies.
We work closely with students, graduates and employers to support successful career goals and outcomes. Our overall placement rate is consistently strong, with 94 percent of our JD class employed within 10 months after graduation.
Our faculty is distinguished for its scholarship, as well as for its commitment to teaching. Our 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio creates an intimate and collegial learning environment.
- Alumni and Giving
Alumni and Giving
The global Trojan network of more than 10,000 law alumni and donors include recognized leaders in numerous fields who are deeply committed to supporting student and law school success.
USC commemorates Juneteenth with virtual celebration
- ABOUT USC GOULD
- A MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN
- + HISTORY OF USC GOULD
- + NEWS
- + EVENTS
- BOARD OF COUNCILORS
- CONSUMER INFORMATION (ABA REQUIRED DISCLOSURES)
- VISIT US
- SOCIAL MEDIA
- + CONTACT US
Monday, June 29, 2020
Professors, administrators and students all shared words of remembrance and personal stories at the university’s inaugural Juneteenth event. Camille Gear Rich, Jody Armour featured in event.
By Grayson Schmidt
|After the intercampus Juneteenth event, Professor Jody Armour appeared at a Juneteenth march and celebration in Downtown Los Angeles.|
Prior to Friday, LaVonna B. Lewis had never spoken publicly about the atrocities suffered by her family. But as the USC community gathered online to celebrate Juneteenth, Lewis felt compelled to share what life was like for many Black Americans following emancipation.
“I share these facts today because this is a time for listening and lifting up my truth,” she said. “I share these facts with you today because the struggle to live free in America continues.”
Lewis, associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion at the USC Price School of Public Policy, reflected on her great-grandfather’s death at the hands of deputies in Oklahoma. She spoke of the lynching of her great uncle by residents of that same county and its Sheriff’s Department, and the fact that his lynching had been forever memorialized in a “lynching postcard” that ultimately was auctioned off to a collector.
“I share these facts today because, almost 100 years later, anti-Black racism still exists and Black bodies still aren’t being protected,” Lewis said. “I share these facts publicly because we as a people are still the victims of violence, physically, mentally, emotionally, instead of postcards.”
Lewis was one of several speakers during the USC Intercampus Juneteenth Celebration. The online event also featured readings, a dance performance, shared experiences and student perspectives, all meant to reflect and celebrate Black heritage. Juneteenth marks 155 years to the day since word of emancipation finally reached slaves in Galveston, Texas — the far boundary of the former Confederacy — over two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
Other featured speakers Friday included Joyce Richey, associate dean for diversity and inclusion at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, who provided a personal reflection on Juneteenth. She opened Friday’s celebration by showing a photo of her great-grandmother — who was born a slave in Georgia — from around the time she was interviewed by a local paper at age 110. She said her great-grandmother told the paper that her master “did not tell his slaves they were free until the Yankees came in and made him.”
Richey said the northerners also instructed the plantation owners to give each family of freed slaves 10 acres of land and a whole ham. Neither was received by her great-grandmother’s family.
“I wanted to share this bit of my family history with you because again it’s so appropriate in terms of what we are celebrating today, Juneteenth,” she said.
USC leaders, professors use Juneteenth to push for change, understanding
|Camille Gear Rich was a co-host of the event with President Carol Folt and USC Senior Vice President for Human Resources Felicia Washington.|
Another personal story came from Jody David Armour, professor at USC Gould School of Law, who recalled his father’s service in World War II and his treatment upon returning home.
“I couldn’t fathom a Black man like my dad pledging allegiance to a flag, and the nation for which it stands, after that very same nation showed its gratitude for military service by falsely incarcerating him for 22 to 55 years in the state penitentiary for the alleged sale and possession of marijuana,” Armour said.
His father studied law and was eventually able to vindicate himself five years after he was incarcerated. Though Armour said he could not understand why his father would remain loyal to the flag of a country that would repay him in such a way, he eventually understood the true meaning behind his loyalty.
“I came to see his patriotic devotion to the American flag not as a mental illness but as a profoundly political one intimately wedded to Juneteenth, the occasion for which we are gathered here today,” Armour said.
President Carol L. Folt said she wants to see Friday’s event become an annual celebration and believes it’s up to “all of us, right now, to bring about real change.”
“We have to confront and eliminate systemic and structural racism, and it’s a moment for us right here at USC to end a collective silence about anti-Black racism,” said Folt, a co-host of the event with Gould Professor Camille Gear Rich and Senior Vice President for Human Resources Felicia Washington.
The ceremony also featured an artistic presentation by Associate Professor d. Sabela grimes of the USC Kaufman School of Dance and a dramatic reading by Anita Dashiell-Sparks, associate dean of equity, diversity and inclusion at the USC School of Dramatic Arts.
USC students reflect on having a greater grasp of history
Closing out the ceremony were reflections from current and former USC students. One of the former students, Morgan Summer, said she had really only learned about Juneteenth within the last several years.
“Even despite all of my education, which partially has focused on Black and African American experience, it’s still surprising to hear just how long the slaves had to wait to truly be free, which is why it’s such a prideful independence day for me,” she said.
She went on to say that this event — USC’s first universitywide Juneteenth celebration — can do more than simply remember what was and hopefully move people to change how things are.
“I think this day really provides a great opening and a great space for us to have discussions on truth and freedom, especially on what that looks like here in the United States,” Summer said.
Gould law student Tyler Scott noted that Juneteenth is intended to "educate, celebrate and agitate," and called upon participants to perpetuate the momentum of change.
"This year Juneteenth, to me, is not just a celebration but also a reminder to keep fighting and to keep pushing," she said.
Rich ended the event by issuing a challenge to participants to understand the context of Juneteenth to enable the holiday to be a catalyst for building community.
"Juneteenth is that chance to recognize that the history of slavery in this country, the history of emancipation is American history, and is something that should be understood by all of us if we want to truly form bonds of community," she said.
Three clients freed from California prisons
July 9, 2020
USC Gould's Post-Conviction Justice Project helps secure second chances for three clients serving life sentences.
A sweeping look at transgender rights
June 30, 2020
David Cruz co-writes groundbreaking casebook, Gender Identity and the Law
In Memoriam: Professor Edward Kleinbard
June 29, 2020
Prof. Kleinbard was an important member of Gould for more than a decade, one of the nation's top tax scholars