Campus News

Equal Justice Initiative Senior Attorney to Give UK Talk on Legacy of Racial Injustice in America

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 1, 2022) This Thursday, the University of Kentucky will welcome John Dalton, senior attorney for the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), to campus for a talk titled “Community Remembrance: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Injustice in America.”

In his talk, Dalton will connect the current work of the EJI to the Documenting Racial Violence in Kentucky (DRVK) project at UK. Led by Nikki Brown, associate professor of history, DRVK documents biographical narratives of persons lynched in Kentucky. All documents are created and assembled by undergraduate interns at UK.

“My work with this project has been very eye opening,” said Gracie Henderson, UK senior and DRVK intern. “Having Mr. Dalton come to campus is a great opportunity to hear about the work of the Equal Justice Initiative, and will also be an opportunity for audiences to see the connections between the DRVK project and racial injustices today.”  

The DRVK project was born from the scholarship of George Wright, Ph.D., UK professor of history and senior advisor to the UK president. Wright has produced groundbreaking research on Kentucky’s history of racial violence and published many books on the lived experiences of Black Americans. His work has aided DRVK in the research of this time in Kentucky’s history.  

“The invaluable work of Equal Justice Initiative is an acknowledgment of the injustice the Black community has endured throughout our nation’s history,” Wright said. “The mission of EJI is shared by a group of researchers at our own university who lead the Documenting Racial Violence in Kentucky project. Bringing injustice into the light enables us to memorialize victims and honor their lives.”

The event will take place at 4 p.m., Thursday, March 3, in the Athletic Association Auditorium in the William T. Young Library. It is free and open to the public.

The talk is sponsored by the Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies, African American & Africana Studies, the Gaines Center for the Humanities, the UK Department of History, the UK Department of Geography, and the UK J. David Rosenberg College of Law. 

For more information on DRVK project, visit 

About John Dalton

Dalton graduated from Carson-Newman College with a B.A. in political science, history and religion. In 2009, he graduated from Stanford Law school and became a clerk for Judge Pamela Ann Rymer on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Dalton also was an associate at Davis, Polk & Wardwell. He has worked at EJI since 2012, having worked on many reports in its racial justice project area.  

About the Equal Justice Initiative

The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) is focused on ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the U.S., challenging racial and economic injustice and protecting basic human rights. It was founded in 1989 by Bryan Stevenson. To learn more about EJI, visit

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.