Deborah Archer Makes History as ACLU’s First-Ever Black President

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Deborah Archer, a professor at New York University School of Law has become the first Black person to be elected president of the American Civil Liberties Union in its 101-year history.

Archer will be replacing Susan Herman, a professor at Brooklyn Law School, who stepped down after serving 12 years leading the organization’s board.

The announcement was made in a virtual meeting of the 69-member board of directors. She succeeds Susan Herman, president since 2008.

“After beginning my career as an ACLU fellow, it is an honor to come full circle and now lead the organization as board president,” said Archer in a statement. “The ACLU has proven itself as an invaluable voice in the fight for civil rights in the last four years of the Trump era, and we are better positioned than ever to face the work ahead. This organization has been part of every important battle for civil liberties during our first century, and we are committed to continuing that legacy as we enter our second. I could not be more excited to get to work.”

Archer is an established civil rights lawyer, scholar, and teacher and began her career as the Marvin M. Karpatkin Legal Fellow at the ACLU. She has been a member of the ACLU board since 2009, and a general counsel and member of the executive committee of the board since 2017.

Archer also serves on the board of directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

“As the country enters the post-Trump era, it is essential that those in leadership intimately understand the history that brought us to this inflection point, and the work ahead,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU. “There is no one better equipped, who best personifies or is more capable to helm the future battles for civil rights, civil liberties, and systemic equality than Deborah Archer.”

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