Kimberly Jade Norwood


Kimberly Jade Norwood

Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law; Professor of African & African American Studies


B.A., 1982, Fordham University
J.D., 1985, University of Missouri

Curriculum Vitae




Beverly Owens - (314) 935-6482

Phone / Email

Phone: (314) 935-6416


Anheuser-Busch Hall, Room 561

Courses Taught

Advanced Civil Procedure/Litigation Strategies
Civil Justice Clinic
Civil Procedure
Education Law & Social Policy: K-12
Implicit Bias and the Law
Pretrial Practice and Procedure
Products Liability
Race, Education & the Law
Stereotypes & Biases: Unconscious Courtroom Drama


After law school Professor Norwood clerked for the Honorable Clifford Scott Green, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She then joined the law firm of Bryan, Cave LLP in St. Louis, Missouri as a litigation associate.  She joined Washington University in 1990. At the law school Professor Norwood has focused her research on black identity, colorism, implicit bias, and the intersection of race, class, and public education in America. She has also created and developed a unique service learning program for which she has won several awards (both local and national) that allows law students to receive law school credit and high school students to receive mentoring and guidance for a possible future career in the law. The experience also involves actual court exposure before judges in their respective courtrooms. Watch the video to get a better sense of the courtroom experience.

As part of the law school’s Africa Public Interest Law & Conflict Resolution Initiative, Norwood has supervised public interest externships for law students working in Ghana and Kenya. Norwood has also taught law courses overseas at Universiteit Utrecht in The Netherlands, Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan.

In 2012, Professor Norwood hosted a conference commemorating the 40th anniversary of a major desegregation lawsuit filed in 1972 in St. Louis, MO. The conference, "Liddell at 40: Commemorating the Desegregation Movement in St. Louis and a Look at the Future of Urban Education," celebrated the efforts of Minnie Liddell to bring quality education to black children in St. Louis city public schools. That lawsuit toiled in the court system for twenty seven years and ultimately became one of the largest voluntary desegregation case in the nation's history. For more information click here

She also is both Editor and Contributor on a book, published in 2014 by Routledge, entitled “Color Matters: Skin Tone Bias & the Myth of a Post-Racial America.Click here to learn more about the book.  The book spawned an international colorism conference at the law school titled "Global Perspectives on Colorism."  The conference was organized by Professor Norwood and the Whitney R Harris World Law Institute, was held at the law school in April of 2015. It is believed to be the first international colorism conference held on U.S. soil. Click here to learn more about the conference.

Professor Norwood served as a Commissioner on the American Bar Association’s Diversity and Inclusion 360 Commission where she also co-chaired the Commission’s Implicit Bias Committee. She served as a member of the  Missouri Supreme Court Municipal Court Working Group and is currently a Commissioner on the Missouri Supreme Court Racial and Ethnic Fairness Commission.

She was the featured speaker for the American Bar Association’s 2016 commemorative event celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A portion of her 2 hour interview by American Bar Association President Paulette Brown can be seen here. Her new book, "Ferguson’s Fault Lines: The Race Quake That Rocked A Nation," discussed in that event, was published by the ABA in 2016 and can be purchased at  A summary of the book can be found by clicking here.  Her work in Ferguson led to her being invited to participate in conferences at the White House and the Department of Justice focused on the cycle of incarceration and debtor prisons. For more on the conferences, click here.

A 2015 Recipient of the Washington University Distinguished Faculty Award, she also was appointed in 2016 as part of the Monitoring Team for the DOJ v. Ferguson Consent Decree. Click here for more details.

More information: Reducing BiasRace and Color Conscious Reality | Classroom to Marathon Challenge  

Representative Publications

Forthcoming Scholarship

  • "Recalibrating the scales of municipal court justice: A dissenter's view," 50 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy __ (forthcoming 2016)
  • “Thoughts on Bullying and Colorism in Black Women’s Remembered Experiences” by Kimberly Norwood and Carla Monroe in Race and Colorism in Education, Editor, Carla R. Monroe (Routledge forthcoming 2016)

Recent Publications


  • "Ferguson's Fault Lines: The Race Quake That Rocked a Nation" (Editor, Kimberly Jade Norwood) (ABA 2016)
  • "Color Matters: Skin Tone Bias and the Myth of a Postracial America" (Editor, Kimberly Norwood) (Routledge 2014)

Book Chapters

  • "From Brown to Brown: Sixty Plus Years of Separately Unequal Public Education," in Ferguson's Fault Lines: The Race Quake That Rocked A Nation (ABA 2016)
  • "The Ubiquitousness of Colorism: Then & Now," by Kimberly Norwood and Violeta Solonova Foreman in Color Matters (Routledge 2013)
  • "Colorism & Blackthink: A Modern Augmentation of Double Consciousness" by Kimberly Norwood in Color Matters (Routledge 2014)


  • "If You Is White, Yous Alright. . ." Stories about Colorism in America, 14 Washington University Global Studies Law Review 585 (2015)
  • "The Far-Reaching Shadow Cast by Ferguson", 46 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy 1 (2015)
  • "Implicit Bias Deserves our Explicit Attention," St. Louis Lawyer (Aug 2014)