The Promise of Lutie A. Lytle: An
Introduction to the Tenth Annual
Commemorative Lutie A. Lytle Black
Women Law Faculty Workshop Iowa Law
Angela Onwuachi-Willig *
It is with great pleasure and pride that I offer this introduction and
welcome to this special Iowa Law Review issue in celebration of the Tenth
Annual Commemorative Lutie A. Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Workshop.
Named after Lutie A. Lytle, an African American woman who became the first
female law professor in the nation (and, likely, in the world) in 1897,1 the
Workshop has afforded diverse law faculty an unparalleled opportunity to
prepare for the job market; to develop teaching and leadership skills; to hone
scholarly agendas; and to workshop articles, book proposals, and “ideas-in-
progress” since its founding at the University of Iowa College of Law in July
2007. The Workshop grew, in part, out of conversations (real and virtual) that
I had with other African American black women faculty about the disturbing
trend that a couple of Association of American Law Schools (“AALS”) studies
revealed about the experiences of faculty of color in legal academia. In
particular, those AALS studies exposed a widening tenure gap between
majority and minority law professors as compared to the nearly closed gender
gap between male and female professors in the legal academy.2 The data also
revealed a decline in the percentages of law faculty of color hired from two
Chancellor’s Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley Sch ool of Law. I give
my sincere thanks to all of the women who have worked hard each year to ensure that th e Lutie
A. Lytle Workshop survives and thrives in legal academia. Special thanks for this Tenth Annual
Commemorative Workshop goes to Taja-Nia Henderson, Lolita Buckner Innis, Victoria Sahani,
Shaakirah Sanders, Catherine Smith, and Adrien Wing. I also thank Charles and Marion Kierscht,
Dean Gail Agrawal, and the University of Iowa Provost’s Office for their kind support. Finally, I
give special thanks to my husband Jacob Willig-Onwuachi and our three children, Elijah, Bethany,
and Solomon for their constant love and support.
1. Pioneering Facts About Black Women Lawyers and Law Teachers, in REBELS IN LAW: VOICES IN
HISTORY OF BLACK WOMEN LAWYERS 277 (J. Clay Smith, Jr. ed. 1998); See J. CLAY SMITH, JR.,
EMANCIPATION: THE MAKING OF THE BLACK LAWYER 1844–1944, at 57–58 (1993).
2. Meera E. Deo, Looking Forward to Diversity in Legal Academia, 29 BERKELEY J. GENDER, L.
& JUST. 352, 356–61 (2014).