Attorney who has spent her career advocating and representing people with disabilities will speak at Eastern Michigan University on May 17

by Debra Johnson, Published May 06, 2014


YPSILANTI – Barbara Ransom thought she would spend a lifetime teaching children, but shortly after receiving her teaching certificate from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, her career path took some interesting turns.


Barbara Ransom, attorney

During an internship with the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, Ransom realized her brother’s short-term memory was a characteristic of a traumatic brain injury he sustained during his youth. At that point, she found her true calling.

Ransom will be the final Porter Chair Lecture Speaker in the 2013-2014 John W. Porter Distinguished Chair in Urban Education Speaker Series. The event will take place on Saturday, May 17, at 10:30 a.m. in room 203 of the Porter Building. Ransom will speak on the topic of “Breaking the School to Prison Pipeline with Advocacy, Common Sense and the Law.” The event is free and open to the public.

For the past 25 years, Ransom has been a plaintiff attorney representing individuals, classes and advocacy organizations to ensure that persons with disabilities are protected by rights secured by the U.S. Constitution, Americans with Disabilities Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and various state constitutions and civil rights laws.

She passionately advocates litigations arising from the denial of appropriate education services, community integration, a discrimination-free work environments, public accommodations and public services.

The John W. Porter Distinguished Chair in Urban Education is named in honor of the late John W. Porter, a former Eastern Michigan University president who served with distinction from 1979-89. The Porter Chair Lecture Series was established to expand the EMU College of Education’s role in urban education and provide a venue for stimulating discussions to promote urban initiatives.

Ransom, now a bi-coastal attorney, splits her time between the east and west coasts as she continues to protect the rights of disabled people under the 14th Amendment for people who would not otherwise have access to litigation.

Ransom hopes to inspire her audiences to understand and assert their rights and the rights of others, and to challenge complacency that results in the loss of the constitutional guarantees of equal protection, due process and full citizenship.

For more information, visit the Porter Distinguished Chair in Urban Education Speaker Series homepage.




Debra Johnson

Make a Gift
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • youtube
  • linked in
  • Blog EMU
  • EMU app