Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, a leading authority on civil rights, Black feminist legal theory, and race and the law, recently received the Outstanding Scholar Award from The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation at their 60th Annual Awards Reception and Banquet in San Diego.

The Foundation, which is the nation’s leading research institute dedicated to the empirical study of law, according to its website, confers the annual award upon scholars who are doing “outstanding work” in the fields of law and government.

“The American Bar Foundation is proud and delighted to honor Kimberlé Crenshaw with the Outstanding Scholar Award,” said Ajay Mehrotra, director of the ABF, in a statement. “Professor Crenshaw and her research exemplify the high standards of rigorous scholarship that are shared by the ABF.”

Crenshaw, a professor of law at University of California, Los Angeles and Columbia Law School, coined the names of and pioneered the critical race theory and intersectionality fields of study, according to her biography. Her scholarly articles have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, National Black Law Journal, Stanford Law Review and other publications, and she has lectured on race to audiences around the world.

The legal scholar created the Critical Race Theory Workshop, and in 1996, she co-founded the African-American Policy Forum, a think tank focused on finding research-based approaches to issues related to gender and racial justice. Crenshaw also is the founder and director of the Center for Intersectionality & Social Policy Studies at Columbia Law School. The center is dedicated to the critical examination of overlapping identity categories such as race, gender, and class and their intersection with systems of oppression and discrimination.

Crenshaw has facilitated workshops on race and gender equality for activists in places such as Brazil and India, and her pioneering work on intersectionality played a critical role in the drafting of the equality clause for the constitution of South Africa.

Crenshaw studied at Cornell University and obtained a master’s of law from the University of Wisconsin before earning her juris doctorate from Harvard.

By Zenitha Prince Senior AFRO Correspondent