Dr. Robert Bullard introduced to the national conversation the reality of environmental racism.
In 1979, while a sociologist at Texas Southern University, Bullard played an important role in the efforts of a local Black community to block the placement of a hazardous waste landfill in their subdivision. The issue gave birth to a career in activism that is still going strong.
The case, Bean v. Southwestern Waste Management, Inc., was the first of its kind in the country to charge environmental discrimination in waste facility placement under civil rights laws.Â In large part because of Bullardâ€™s work, countless local, statewide and national ordinances have been passed to protect minority communities from such abuse.
Bullard, the current dean of TSUâ€™s Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, recently published his 18th book, co-authored with Dillard University professor Beverly Wright. Itâ€™s titled â€śWrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities.â€ť
â€śThis is the first book of its kind to chronicle governmental responses to environmental disasters for over 80 years,â€ť Bullard said. â€śAnd what weâ€™ve discovered is that there is a pattern and a history of environmental racism when it comes to how the government responds to Blacks and other people of color.â€ť
Bullard, who also served as founding director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center (EJRC) located at Clark Atlanta University, was featured in a 2007 CNN report titled â€śPeople You Should Know.â€ťÂ His work at the EJRC provided the framework for similar centers established at HBCUs during the 1990s.