Lawyer and political advisor Ralph Bernard Everett was born on June 23, 1951 in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He graduated from Morehouse College in 1973 with honors from the Phi Beta Kappa Society and went on to attend Duke Law School, where he received his J.D. degree in 1976 and was an Earl Warren Legal Scholar.
Everett then went to work as a lawyer for the North Carolina Department of Labor in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was appointed as the Democratic staff director and minority chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation in 1982, becoming the first African American to lead a Senate committee; he later became Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the full Committee. Everett achieved another “first” when he became the first African American to be named partner at the law firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker in 1989.
Everett has advised several U.S. presidential campaigns, including Democratic candidates Ernest Hollings and Michael Dukakis. His political involvement continued when Everett served as the Senate Liaison to the Clinton-Gore Presidential Campaign in 1992 when Clinton defeated incumbent President George H.W. Bush. A devotee of the Democratic Party, Everett served as parliamentarian for the 1992 Democratic National Convention. With experience in telecommunications and policymaking, Everett served as the U.S. Ambassador for the 1998 International Telecommunication Union’s Plenipotentiary Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2007, Everett succeeded Togo D. West, Jr. as President and CEO of the Washington, D.C. based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
Everett has served on the boards of numerous community organizations, including the National Urban League, the Center for National Policy, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Cumulus Media, Inc., Shenandoah Life Insurance Company, and his church, Alfred Street Baptist Church, which is the oldest African American congregation in the City of Alexandra, Virginia.
Everett resides in Alexandria with his wife, Dr. Gwendolyn Harris Everett, and they have one adult son, Jason Gordon Everett.
Everett was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 1, 2008.