Denise Carty-Bennia ~ Rest In Power

Denise Carty-Bennia, B.Michael’s dear friend and mentor from law school, died tragically at the age of 43. Her obituary appeared in the New York Times.


At Northeastern’s memorial for Denise, B.Michael was one of two Alumni Tributes; he read a poem he wrote called “Shades of U.”


The Northeastern University School of Law created the Denise Carty-Bennia Memorial Bar Award in her honor.

A year after her death, the City University of New York School of Law at Queens College dedicated the Denise Carty-Bennia Auditorium:


Just a few examples of Carty-Bennia’s legal scholarship and leadership that B.Michael kept in his files.




A discussion on “Affirmative Action: Where Are We Headed” held by Carty-Bennia at Barnard College, her undergraduate alma mater, was recorded in 1990.

Denise Carty-Bennia :: Friend

Denise — B.Michael’s cherished mentor and friend — figures prominently in two of his poems: “Shades of U,” which he wrote upon her passing in 1990, and “No Space at Forty-One,” which he wrote less than two years before his own death in 2001.

A postcard to B.Michael from Denise in 1986, most likely during summer break.



dear bert,

greetings from the southern hemisphere. aruba, 12 miles from venezuela, is a desert-like paradise. sun, sand and even blowing tropical breezes. i am trying to relax and clear my brain, but it isn’t easy. even here, there are plenty of people trying to lay a trip on a single Black woman. i trust all goes well. don’t you dare move to n.y. before i get back! call you when i get back.

love, denise