Illuminating Robert Morris: Creating a Digital Exhibit to Celebrate America’s Second Black Lawyer

Recorded On: 07/18/2022

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Robert Morris was the nation’s second African American lawyer. An activist for civil rights and abolition, he risked his own freedom to aid fugitives from slavery and fought for integrated schools, advancing legal arguments that anticipated the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. A team at Boston College built a digital exhibit telling Morris’s story in multiple ways, including an interactive timeline and map through Knight Lab’s TimelineJS and StoryMapJS. Presenters will introduce Morris, describe the process of and challenges involved in building a digital exhibit, and describe how this type of project gives institutions and firms an opportunity to engage with their own histories through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens. 

This program is sponsored by the LHRB-SIS.

Recorded at the 2022 AALL Annual Meeting & Conference. Please note the opinions shared during the programs represent the views of the speakers and not of AALL.


Librarians in any setting with an interest in legal history, digital exhibits, rare books, outreach, or diversity, equity, and inclusion


  1. Participants will be able to describe the importance of Robert Morris, the country’s second African American lawyer and counsel for fugitives from slavery, including his relationship to major cases like Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education.
  2. Participants will be able to articulate the value and purpose of digital exhibits, list the different roles and skill sets involved in their creation, and utilize user-friendly digital humanities tools like timelines and story maps that allow for the integration of interactive web components.
  3. Participants will be able to assess their own institutional or firm history through a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion.


  • Avi Bauer, Boston College Law Library
  • Nick Szydlowski, San José State University


  • Laurel Davis, Boston College Law Library

AALL BODY OF KNOWLEDGE DOMAINS: Teaching + Training, Marketing + Outreach

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Illuminating Robert Morris: Creating a Digital Exhibit to Celebrate America’s Second Black Lawyer
Open to listen to or download MP3 audio.
Open to listen to or download MP3 audio.