The National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), was founded in 1968 by Algernon Johnson (”AJ”) Cooper, former mayor of Prichard, Alabama at New York University Law School. NBLSA was formed to articulate and promote the needs and goals of black law students and effectuate change in the legal community.
Today, NBLSA is the largest student run organization in the United States with over 6,000 members and 200 chapters. NBLSA chapters and affiliates can be found in six different countries including The Bahamas, Nigeria, and South Africa.
Other organizations were formed with the assistance of NBLSA: Black Law Students Association of Canada (BLSAC), The National Latino/Latina Student Association (NLLSA), National Association of Law Students with Disabilities (NALSD), and The National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (NAPALSA).
Each year, NBLSA holds its Annual Convention to engage in legal activism and prepare new generations of black lawyers to “effectuate change.” The prestigous Frederick Douglass Moot Court and Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competitions are held during the convention.
The Wake Forest chapter of the BLSA is a local organization of law students affiliated with the regional and national BLSA organizations. The Wake Forest chapter adheres to the national purpose of promoting a greater awareness of and commitment to the needs of the black community and to the problems of the individual black student. Members are active in student government, recruitment, and placement. BLSA sponsors a scholarship banquet each year to fund a minority scholarship. It also sponsors a team for the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition.
African Americans have a proud heritage marked by determination, preserverance, and strength. Many of these characteristics, as well as others, that were present in our ancestors, are alive in us today. To help cultivate these attributes, our chapter, has upheld African American traditions by providing support and guidance to its members. Realizing that law school is a very expensive venture, we have sought to supplement the cost of attending WFU by annually awarding three scholarships. The merit-based scholarships are given to one BLSA student-member in each class.
The BLSA Scholarship Endowment Fund was instituted in 1984. The idea was initiated and implemented by BLSA. In order for the scholarship to become perpetual, BLSA was required to raise $5,000. Once the $5,000 was raised, Wake Forest University provided matching funds in order for the fund to reach the minimum needed to perpetuate the scholarship. The BLSA Scholarship achieved perpetual status in 1986. Since then, BLSA has been successful in efforts to give financial support to three of its members. Each year BLSA hosts a banquet to help fund the scholarship.