Harold A. McDougall

Professor of law, Howard University

Harold A. McDougall is a professor of law at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He was a civil rights organizer and voter registrant in his early years and served the NAACP from 1994 to 1997, as executive vice president of a local branch, as Washington bureau chief and as senior policy consultant. He served on the National Governing Board of Common Cause, the Board of Directors of the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars (Fulbright Scholars Program) and the Board of Trustees of the Paul J. Aicher Foundation (Study Circles Resource Center). He has consulted for the Kellogg, Kettering, and Village Foundations, and the Montgomery County, M.D., County Executive’s Office.

Professor McDougall specializes in the areas of urban social and economic development, civil rights, and the workings of state, local, and federal government. He has written numerous articles, as well as two books exploring these themes.

Black Baltimore: A New Theory of Community (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993) proposes a new approach to the renovation and revitalization of community civic culture. African Civil Rights in the Age of Obama: A History and a Handbook (, 2010) covers “trouble spots” like racial profiling, hate crimes, discrimination against consumers, employment discrimination, voting rights, housing discrimination and discrimination in public education. It also looks at citizen action and access to local government.

Professor McDougall’s present work takes two forms, one international, and one domestic.

Since a 1999 Fulbright Fellowship to the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, he has focused on sustainable development and citizen engagement in the developing world, teaching and writing in this area. Between 2003 and 2011, he taught courses on human rights and sustainable development to students at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica and at the University of the Western Cape, in South Africa. He has also given speeches on these subjects at the U.S. Educational Foundation in New Delhi, India in 2007 and at the Pro-Vice Chancellor’s annual convocation of the University of South Africa (UNISA) in Pretoria in 2008.

Locally, he has founded the “Invisible College,” a nonprofit organization teaching “public citizenship” to middle and high school students. One offshoot, a Boys II Men program, has been taught at Takoma Park Middle School in Montgomery County, M.D., by Howard Law School students since 2008. A “Girls2Women” program started in 2009.

His most recent publications include Reconstructing African American Cultural DNA: An Action Research Agenda for Howard University, 55 Howard Law Journal 63 (2011), and A Civic Infrastructure for the Occupy Movement (forthcoming, 2012). The former considers culture as an element of problem-solving. The latter looks at how “base communities,” linked together, might empower citizens to engage in ongoing dialogue with business and government.

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