Foley Black History Month Program: A Discussion with Brent Leggs

17 February 2022 Foley Career Perspectives Blog
Author(s): Alexis P. Robertson
Brent Leggs

In honor of Black History Month, Foley invited all firm members to attend a virtual conversation with Brent Leggs about the importance of uplifting Black culture in our shared American history. Leggs illuminates this topic through the lens of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and his role as Senior Vice President and Founding Executive Director of its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.

Leggs began with his personal journey to preservation, from his first childhood memory of race, place and identity to his work on the inventory of the historic Rosenwald Schools as a student at the University of Kentucky. He also spoke about the importance of preservation in the fight against cultural inequity, urban renewal, redlining, and disinvestment.

The Black preservation movement was “birthed in the burning of the mortgage” of the Frederick Douglass House after it was purchased with many small contributions from Black people across the country. Today, the Action Fund led by Leggs is the country’s largest preservation campaign on behalf of historic African American places that represent centuries of activism, achievement, and resilience.

Leggs told attendees about a number of these efforts and their significance in American history, from the preservation of Clayborn Temple in Memphis from which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led thousands on a march to city hall to the restoration of Vernon AME Church to mark the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. He also highlighted the need to identify and preserve more overlooked places such as Joe Frazier’s Gym where he trained for the “Thrilla in Manila” and Alice & John Coltrane’s House where they wrote A Love Supreme.

According to Leggs, preserving the tapestry of African American cultural sites is fundamental to understanding the American story – and is an act of social justice.

“Black history is American history. For people of color, they can see that dreams can be realized. For all Americans, they can revere and understand the contributions of Black people.”

Read more about Diversity & Inclusion at Foley.

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Author(s)

Alexis P. Robertson

Director of Diversity & Inclusion