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The Crisis Publishing Company, Inc.
In 1910, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois founded The Crisis magazine as the premier crusading voice for civil rights. Today, The Crisis, one of the oldest black periodicals in America, continues this mission. A respected journal of thought, opinion and analysis, The Crisis was and still remains the official publication of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and is the NAACP's articulate partner in the struggle for human rights for people of color.
Published by The Crisis Publishing Company, Inc., a for-profit enterprise that is legally separate from the NAACP, The Crisis is the official publication of the NAACP. The Crisis is a quarterly journal of civil rights, history, politics, and culture and seeks to educate and challenge its readers about issues that continue to plague African Americans and other communities of color.
In addition to the feature stories and "Issues and Views," each issue of The Crisis opens with the "Up Front" section, composed of news briefs of events around the country. "Crisis Forum" is a diverse section offering readers highlights of the arts and the culture in which we live. "NAACP Today" brings readers the news about the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the country. Except for the stories featured in "The NAACP Today," the opinions expressed in the pages of The Crisis may not represent the official position of the NAACP. For over 100 years, The Crisis has been the magazine of opinion and thought leaders, decision makers, peacemakers and justice seekers. It has chronicled, informed, educated, entertained and, in many instances, set the economic, political and social agenda for our nation and its multiethnic citizens.
After more than 45 years of public and community service and being an advisor to four mayors and two governors, the Honorable Laura D. Blackburne was elected Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York. In January 1996, Judge Blackburne took her seat on the bench in the Criminal Court of Queens County. In January 2000, she began her term as Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York and retired from this post in 2006.
Justice Blackburne began her public service as a teacher and later held various Civil Service positions in New York City. In 1970, former Mayor John Lindsay invited her to join his administration as a member of the Mayor's Education Task Force and later as Director of the Narcotics Control Commission and an Assistant to the Mayor.
In 1979, following graduation from St. John's University School of Law and admission to the Bar of the State of New York, Judge Blackburne served as President and CEO of the Institute for Mediation and Conflict Resolution for a decade. The Institute provided conflict resolution to public, private and community groups, as well as training to over 15,000 individuals in negotiation and mediation techniques throughout the United States and abroad.
In 1990, Judge Blackburne was appointed by Mayor David Dinkins to Chair the New York City Housing Authority where she was responsible for 600,000 residents and 16,000 employees. She instituted the first bicycle police patrol in New York City, and also served as a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Chair of the Triboro Bridge and tunnel Authority from 1985 – 1992.
Justice Blackburne has taught at Long Island University; City University of New York Center for Legal Education and Urban Policy; Harvard University, Institute of Politics; University of Massachusetts Law Center, The New School for Social Research; and as a Visiting Professor of Law at St. John's University School of Law.
Her public service has included: Board Member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Job Training Partnership Council of New York State; New York City Criminal Civilian Complaint Task Force; U.S. Peace Academy; Governor's Transit Advisory Panel; Governor's Task Force on Insurance Regulatory Reform; Governor's Task Force on Rape; and the Co-Chair of the Mayor's Committee on Church Avenue Boycott.
Justice Blackburne has served the bar as a member of the Character and Fitness Committee for Admission to the Bar of the Second Judicial Department of New York State; The Departmental Disciplinary Committee, First Judicial Department; Board of Visitors, City University of New York Law School; Pro Bono Counsel to the New York State NAACP. She also presided over the Queens Treatment Court which provided an alternative to incarceration for first felony drug offenders.
Her community service includes: Metro Manhattan Chapter of Links Inc.; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; Black Leadership Commission on Aids; Choreographer and Director of the St Catherine of Sienna Liturgical Dancers at St. Catherine of Sienna R.C. Church.
Blackburne’s international missions have taken her all over the world:
1993 – Brazil - 10 day study of organized labor and child exploitation
1991 – South Africa – two week study post Apartheid housing and criminal justice
1991 – Former Soviet Union – led 15 person group on an 18-day assessment of housing and courts
1989 – Great Britain – lectured on mediation and conflict resolution in the courts
1989 – Peoples Republic of China - led a 21 day exchange with Judges and lawyers on U.S. Mediation in courts
1987 – studied transportation system
1985 – Kenya – served as mediator for UN International Conference on Women
1984 – Great Britain and Canada – lectured on mediation and conflict resolution
1983 – Johannesburg and Cape Town – application of conflict resolution techniques
She currently is a member of: The National Association of Women Judges; The Judicial Council of the National Bar Association, The Macon B. Allen Black Bar Association; Queens Convenor of the Judicial Friends (African American Judges); Queens Convenor of the Not Just for Blacks and Jews in Conversation (a program to promote interracial respect and tolerance for high school students).
Justice Blackburne is a member of the Bar of the State of New York, the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Southern District and the Supreme Court of the United States. In addition to being a graduate from St. John's University School of Law, she is a graduate of the Ohio State University and has taken graduate courses at New York University and Cornell University Center for Labor Relations. She has been honored with Doctor of Law degrees from both St. John's University and Niagara University.
Married for 50 years to Elmer Blackburne, the distinguished Democratic District Leader, they have three daughters: Anna Blackburne Rigsby*, Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate June 27, 2000; Rose E. Blackburne, M.D., Obstetrician and Gynecologist in private practice, Washington, D.C.; Faith T. Blackburne, Program Manager for District of Columbia Government; son-in-law, Robert R. Rigsby, Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia and grandson Julian Christopher Rigsby.
*Justice Blackburne and her daughter the Honorable Anna Blackburne Rigsby are the only mother and daughter judges of courts of general jurisdiction in the United States.
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