Derek Black is a Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina School of Law. His areas of expertise include education law and policy, constitutional law, civil rights, evidence, and torts. The primary focus of his scholarship is educational equality for disadvantaged students, although he has also published extensively on issues relating to intentional discrimination. His scholarship has been cited in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and by various briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court.
His interest in education law grows out of his work at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where he was a staff attorney in the Education Project. At the Lawyers' Committee, he litigated issues relating to school desegregation, diversity, finance equity, discipline, and special education. He left the Lawyers' Committee to begin a career in teaching at Howard University School of Law. In addition to teaching, he founded and directed the Education Rights Center at Howard University. The Center studies the causes and extent of educational inequalities in public schools, provides advocacy resources to parents, and attempts to shape national and local education policy.
Professor Black has also taught at the University of North Carolina School of Law and American University Washington College of Law. Beyond teaching, he is active in various outside endeavors, including serving as pro bono counsel in civil rights cases, a consultant to civil rights campaigns, and a member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team.
He attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a member of the Law Review for two years, was awarded the Dan Pollitt ACLU fellowship in his third year, and graduated with High Honors.