Black Law Student Association
In 1968, Algernon Johnson "A.J." Cooper, former mayor of Prichard, Alabama, founded the Black American Law Students Association (BALSA) at the New York University Law School. BALSA's purpose was to effectuate change in the legal system. The association endeavored to sensitize the law and legal profession to the ever-increasing needs of the Black community. This commitment has never wavered.
In 1983, BALSA revised its name. The word "American" was deleted to encompass all Blacks who were not of American nationality. Later, the word "National" was added to reflect the extent to which the organization had expanded.
The National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), the largest student-run organization in America, has over 200 chapters at law schools throughout the country. This represents almost every ABA accredited law school, plus several non-accredited law schools. These chapters represent over 6,000 Black law students in six regions that encompass 48 states, including Hawaii and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Recently, NBLSA established international links with Black law students in Canada, England and South Africa who decided to model their student organizations after NBLSA. Black Law Student Association Constitution (PDF)