Stephen B. Bright
President and Senior Counsel, the Southern Center for Human Rights


An interview with Stephen B. Bright conducted May 24 and 26, 2009 by Myron A. Farber for the Columbia Center for Oral History, Rule of Law Oral History Project.

Stephen B. Bright is president and senior counsel of the Southern Center for Human Rights, a human rights organization that provides legal representation to people facing the death penalty, challenges violations of prisoner’s human rights, and advocates for criminal justice system reform. Mr. Bright’s litigation, teaching, and writing include capital punishment, legal representation for poor people accused of crimes, conditions and practices in prisons and jails, racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, jury composition, judicial independence, and sentencing. Highlights of this interview include Mr. Bright’s discussions of his early public defense career in Appalachia and Washington D.C.; his work in reviving and growing the Southern Center for Human Rights; and the historical and contemporary challenges of ending the death penalty in the southern United States, including judicial and public prosecutor elections, under-resourced public defender systems, and fundamental lack of due process rights.

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