Founded in 1970 to be America’s black think tank, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies today focuses on the impact of innovations like artificial intelligence and automation on the future of work and economic development, particularly in cities like Detroit, Memphis, and the rural black belt.
Overton chaired government reform policy on the 2008 Obama presidential campaign. He also was part of the Obama transition, where he served as a lawyer in the general counsel's office and as a member of the Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform (TIGER) policy team. During the administration, he was principal deputy assistant attorney general of the Office of Legal Policy, the “think tank” of the Department of Justice.
Spencer is also a tenured professor of law at George Washington University, where he teaches race and the law, property law, and election law. An accomplished writer, he is the co-author of “5G, Smart Cities, and Communities of Color” and author of Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression. Spencer helped the modern voter ID debate through his work on national voting rights commissions and led a successful effort in Iowa to restore voting rights to former inmates who had completed their sentences.
Spencer is an honors graduate of both Hampton University and Harvard Law School.