Bryan Stevenson (born November 14, 1959) is an American lawyer, social justice activist, law professor at New York University School of Law and the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Based in Montgomery, Alabama, he has challenged bias against the poor and minorities in the criminal justice system, especially children. He has helped achieve United States Supreme Court decisions that prohibit sentencing children under 18 to death or to life imprisonment without parole. He has assisted in cases that have saved dozens of prisoners from the death penalty, advocated for the poor, as well as developed community-based reform litigation aimed at improving the administration of criminal justice.
He was depicted in the legal drama Just Mercy which is based on his memoir Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, which tells the story of Walter McMillian.
He initiated the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, which honors the names of each of more than 4,000 African Americans lynched in the twelve states of the South from 1877 to 1950. He argues that the history of slavery and lynchings has influenced the subsequent high rate of death sentences in the South, where it has been disproportionately applied to minorities. A related museum, The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, offers interpretations to show the connection between the post-Reconstruction period of lynchings to the high rate of executions and incarceration of people of color in the United States.