Back to listing
David J. Garrow

David J. Garrow

Professor of Law & History and John E. Murray Faculty Scholar
(412) 624-2381
djg52 at cam dot ac dot uk

High-Resolution Photo

David J. Garrow is a Professor of Law & History and Distinguished Faculty Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh, holding a joint appointment with Pitt Law and the Department of History.  Prior to joining Pitt Law, Garrow was a Senior Research Fellow at Homerton College, University of Cambridge. Garrow is the author of Liberty and Sexuality: The Right to Privacy and the Making of Roe v. Wade (Macmillan, 1994; updated paperback edition, University of California Press, 1998), a comprehensive history of the American reproductive rights struggle.

His previous book, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the  Southern Christian Leadership Conference (Morrow, 1986; HarperCollins paperback, 2004), won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Biography and the seventh annual Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. Garrow is also the author  of The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr. (Norton, 1981) and Protest at Selma (Yale University Press, 1978), as well as editor of The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It: The Memoir of JoAnn Gibson Robinson (University of Tennessee Press, 1987). He is co-editor of The Forgotten Memoir of John Knox: A Year in the Life of a Supreme Court Clerk in FDR's Washington (University of Chicago  Press, 2002) and of The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader (Viking Penguin, 1987, 1991).

He served as a senior advisor for "Eyes on the Prize," the  award-winning PBS television history of the American Black freedom struggle, and as editorial advisor for the Library of America's  two-volume Reporting Civil Rights (2003). He regularly contributes to the Washington Post, the Wilson Quarterly, and the New York Times, and in recent years his essays and articles also have appeared in Newsweek, The New Republic, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic Monthly, the New York Review of Books, The Nation, and the American Lawyer. His academic writings have been published in the Supreme Court Review, the Yale Law Journal, the University of Chicago Law Review, Cornell Law Review, the Virginia Law Review, and Constitutional Commentary.

Garrow has taught at Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the City University of New York, The Cooper Union (where in 1992-1993 he served as Visiting Distinguished Professor of History), the College of William and Mary (where in 1994-1995 he served as Harrison Visiting Professor of History), American University (where in 1995-96 he served as Distinguished Historian in Residence), and Emory University (where from 1997 until 2005 he was Presidential Distinguished Professor).

Garrow was born in Massachusetts in 1953, graduated magna cum laude from Wesleyan University in 1975, and received his Ph.D. from Duke University in 1981. All of David’s non-book publications can be accessed at his personal web site,

BA - Wesleyan University (1975)
PhD - Duke University (1981)


  • Foreword to Seeing Through Race: A Reinterpretation of Civil Rights Photography, (Berger, A. Martin, Univ. of California Press, 2011).
  • Liberty and Sexuality: The Right to Privacy and the Making of Roe v. Wade, (New York: Macmillan, 1994; Berkeley: University of California Press updated & expanded paperback, 1998).
  • Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, (New York: William Morrow & Co., 1986; Vintage Books paperback, 1987; Harper Perennial paperback, 2004; London: Jonathan Cape, Ltd., 1988; Vintage Books paperback, 1993).
  • The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr.: From "Solo" to Memphis, (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1981; Penguin Books paperback, 1983).
  • Protest at Selma: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978; Yale paperback, 1980).


  • The StrategyThe New Republic, (May 2012) (Reviewing Dale Carpenter, Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas).
  • A Revisionist’s History, 35 Wilson Quarterly (Spring 2011) (Reviewing Manning Marable, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention).
  • Obama’s Papa Was A Rolling Stone, Washington Post Book World (July 2011).
  • The Legal Legacy of Griswold v. Connecticut, 38 Human Rights (Spring 2011).
  • Foreshadowing the Future: 1957 and the United States Black Freedom Struggle, 62 Arkansas Law Review 1-28 (2009).
  • Significant Risks: Gonzales v. Carhart and the Future of Abortion LawSupreme Court Review 2007 1-50 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008).
  • Bad Behavior Makes Big Law: Southern Malfeasance and the Expansion of Federal Judicial Power, 1954-1968, 82 St. Johns Law Review 1-38 (Winter 2008).
  • The Evolution of Affirmative Action and the Necessity of Truly Individualized Admissions Decisions, 34 Journal of College and University Law 1-19 (2007). (Reprinted as Affirmative Action and the U. S. Black Freedom Struggle, Marvin Krislov, et al., eds., The Next Twenty Five Years? Affirmative Action and Higher Education in the United States and South Africa 35-49 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2009).
  • Picking Up the Books: The New Historiography of the Black Panther Party, 35 Reviews in American History 650-70 (Dec. 2007).


  • Presenter, “Soviet Espionage and American Historiography,” Rosenberg Case Conference, George Washington Univ. School of International Affairs, (June 2011).
  • Presenter, “The Continuing Relevance of Judicial Review for the Preservation of Constitutional Rights,” Constitution Day Lecture, Univ. of Pittsburgh School of Law, (Sept. 2011).
  • Presenter, “The Future of the American Dream,” Blank Foundation Symposium, Atlanta, GA, (Dec. 2011).
  • Presenter, “The Ethics of Modern History,” Kenneth W. Underwood Lecture, Wesleyan Univ., (April 2012).

Awards and Honors

  • The 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Biography
  • The Seventh Annual Robert F. Kennedy Book Award

Selected Professional Activities

  • Scholarly Consultant to the National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN.
  • Scholarly Consultant to the National Park Service, Washington, DC.
  • Board Member, Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project, Stanford Univ.