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We are pleased to introduce the HNBF’s 2021 Academic Leadership awardee, Professor Donald F. Tibbs. The HNBF is committed to encouraging belonging and justice and recognizes Professor Tibbs for working towards overcoming racism to enrich our society.

Professor Donald F. Tibbs

Dr. Donald F. Tibbs is a professor of law at the St. Thomas University College of Law where he teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and special topics in Critical Race Theory, Race and the Law, and Hip Hop and the Law. Previously he has taught at Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University, Arizona State University, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and the Southern University Law Center where he was an Assistant Professor of Law and the Director of the Institute for Civil Rights and Justice.

Dr. Tibbs received his Jurist Doctorate (J.D) from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Following law school he worked as a civil rights and criminal defense.  Before entering academia, he obtained his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from Arizona State University in the School of Justice and Social Inquiry where he focused on bridging the gap between African American history and Legal Jurisprudence.  At Arizona State University he was a Graduate College Academic Support Fellow (GCASF), a Preparing Future Faculty Fellow (PFF), and named the Arizona State University Sheila S. Skipper Outstanding Graduate Student.

Following his doctoral studies, Dr. Tibbs was twice a fellow at the University of Wisconsin Law School where he was a J. Willard Hurst Summer Institute fellow in Legal History and the William H. Hastie Law Teaching Fellow where he completed his Master’s of Laws (LL.M.) degree.  He was the Harry S. Golden Civil Rights Research Fellow at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, a recipient of the prestigious Drexel University Career Development Grant, and twice the recipient of the Dean Jennifer L. Rosato Excellence in the Classroom Award at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law.  In Spring 2012 he taught the first course on Hip Hop and the Law ever offered at an American law school, where scholars traveled from around the world to discuss the intersection of Hip Hop and the Law with law students.  The course was a feature story in the American Bar Association Journal.

Dr. Tibbs’s research interests generally include Race and the Law formed through his knowledge of African American Legal History; Crime and Punishment; Critical Race Theory; and Hip Hop and Popular Culture. He has published in the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal; the Seattle Journal of Social Justice; the Southern University Journal of Race, Gender, and Poverty; the Georgetown Journal of New Critical Race Perspectives; the Iowa Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice; the Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice; the Washington University Journal of Public Policy, the law reviews at Temple, Widener, Mercer, and St. Thomas law schools, respectively.  He speaks to numerous news media on emerging stories on race and the law in America., and was the Time Magazine Quote of the Day, and the Outstanding Graduate Alumni of the Arizona State University’s School of Justice and Social Transformation for his contributions to the pursuit of social justice and civil rights.  Most recently, Dr. Tibbs was named the Teacher of the Year at the St. Thomas University College of Law.

Dr. Tibbs considers himself an outspoken advocate for racial justice and human rights, scholar, an activist, and most importantly unapologetically Black.

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