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Thomas N. Todd

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Information about Thomas N. Todd

Profile image of Thomas N. Todd

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Lawyer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Milk (Skim)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
I don't like no snakes.

Birthplace

Born:
9/24/1938
Birth Location:
Demopolis, Alabama

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Lawyer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Milk (Skim)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
I don't like no snakes.

Birthplace

Born:
9/24/1938
Birth Location:
Demopolis
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Biography

Activist attorney widely known as "TNT" for his oratorical skills, Thomas N. Todd was born on September 24, 1938, in Demopolis, Alabama. His father died shortly thereafter, so his mother, and eventually a stepfather, raised Thomas in Mobile, Alabama. The family was poor, but Thomas, a large youth with a rich voice, nevertheless became a leader in school activities. He graduated early from Central High School in Mobile in 1955 and started that same year at Southern University at Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Although he considered dropping out of college after his mother died in 1958, he remained enrolled and received a B.A. degree in political science in 1959. Todd continued through Southern University's School of Law graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1963.Todd served as a lawyer in the United States Army from 1964 to 1967 and joined the staff of the United States Attorney's Office in Chicago in 1967. In this capacity, Todd made history when he developed the first criminal case against a Chicago policeman for deprivation of an individuals' civil rights in 1968. Todd organized and established the first Civil Rights Office in a local United States Attorney's Office in the United States in 1969. The United States v. Gorman, the first federal criminal case against a Chicago police officer ended in a hung jury in 1971.

Todd was the first full time black law professor at Northwestern University where he taught from 1970 to 1974. Todd has been admitted to practice law before many courts including the Louisiana Supreme Court, the United States Court of Military Appeals, the Illinois Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court.

A powerful spokesman for civil rights, Todd was president of the Chicago chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1971 and president of Operation PUSH from 1983 -1984. During the Harold Washington mayoral campaigns of 1983 and 1987, Todd's oratory was often used to "warm up" the crowd prior to Washington's arrival. Semi-retired and the recipient of over 500 awards and honorary degrees, Todd is one of the most electrifying commencement speakers on black college campuses. He and his wife, Janis, and two daughters live in Chicago.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thomas Todd interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thomas Todd lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thomas Todd lists his immediate family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thomas Todd explains where he was born and raised
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thomas Todd discusses his father's family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thomas Todd remembers his mother's family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Thomas Todd shares his childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thomas Todd recalls going to elementary school
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Thomas Todd describes moving to a new home
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Thomas Todd details his middle and high school experiences
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Thomas Todd lists the educators who influenced him
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Thomas Todd remembers his high school extracurricular activities
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Thomas Todd describes his undergraduate years at Southern University
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Thomas Todd shares his experiences at a Historically Black Law School
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Thomas Todd relates his experience in ROTC
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thomas Todd recalls his conflict with the ROTC
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thomas Todd remembers his mother's death
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thomas Todd discusses the Stoics and his mother's death
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thomas Todd details getting expelled from ROTC
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thomas Todd describes his watershed year after college
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thomas Todd relates his law school experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thomas Todd recalls taking the Bar examinations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thomas Todd discusses his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Thomas Todd encounters racial discrimination on Capitol Hill
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thomas Todd recalls racial discrimination in housing and the Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thomas Todd details how he became head of the Chicago Civil Rights Office
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thomas Todd provides the political context of his years in the U.S. Attorney's office
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thomas Todd relates his efforts to prosecute police brutality
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thomas Todd shares other successes as the head of the Chicago Civil Rights Division
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thomas Todd describes his difficulties as the only black professor at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Thomas Todd discusses his other civil rights efforts while at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Thomas Todd explains his involvement with Operation PUSH and Operation Breadbasket
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Thomas Todd details the split between Jesse Jackson and SCLC
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thomas Todd describes the founding of Operation PUSH
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thomas Todd expounds on the importance of education to the black community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thomas Todd recalls the movement to elect Ralph Metcalf
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thomas Todd discusses the buying of votes
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thomas Todd illustrates the hurdles the black community overcame to vote
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thomas Todd relates how he helped elect Harold Washington
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thomas Todd talks about his style of public speaking
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thomas Todd lists his most important legal cases
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thomas Todd lists his speaking engagements
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thomas Todd illustrates the importance, and the troubles, with education
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thomas Todd explains why he won't run for office
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Thomas Todd discusses being in the public eye
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Thomas Todd speculates on his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Thomas Todd describes his speeches to educators
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Thomas Todd discusses the history of white American privilege
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Thomas Todd reveals how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Thomas Todd ponders what his parents would think of his career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Photo - Thomas Todd, Mobile, Alabama, ca. 1947
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Photo - Thomas Todd, Mobile, Alabama, 1943
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Photo - Thomas Todd as a Boy Scout, Mobile, Alabama, ca. 1947
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Photo - Thomas Todd at Central High School, Mobile, Alabama, 1954.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Photo - Thomas Todd graduates from Central High School, Mobile, Alabama, 1955
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Photo - Thomas Todd with members of the Central High School student senate, Mobile, Alabama, ca. 1954
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Photo - Thomas Todd with Easter Overton Wright and Betty White, Alabama State University, Montgomery, Alabama, 1957
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Photo - Thomas Todd with Dean Aguinaldo Alphonso LeNoir, Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1962
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Photo - Thomas Todd with his graduating class, Southern University School of Law, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, June 1963
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Photo - Dean Aguinaldo Alphonso LeNoir, Southern University School of Law, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, ca. 1962
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Photo - Thomas Todd, Mildred Byrd, and Marion White, Southern University School of Law, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, ca. 1963
  • Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Photo - Thomas Todd in his office, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1967
  • Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Photo - Thomas Todd with Jesse Jackson, December 4th, 1971
  • Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Photo - Thomas Todd with Jesse Jackson, Chicago, Illinois, 1983
  • Tape: 6 Story: 15 - Photo - Thomas Todd speaking at Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, May 1989
  • Tape: 6 Story: 16 - Photo - Thomas Todd receiving an Honorary Degree, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, May 1990
  • Tape: 6 Story: 17 - Photo - Thomas Todd receives an Honorary Doctorate from Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, December 1999
  • Tape: 6 Story: 18 - Photo - Thomas Todd with Whitney Houston and Dr. Joseph B. Johnson, Grambling State University, Grambling, Louisiana, July 1988
  • Tape: 6 Story: 19 - Photo - Chicago American newspaper layout of Thomas Todd, Chicago, Illinois, 1995
  • Tape: 6 Story: 20 - Photo - Thomas Todd with Dr. Jewel Prestidge, Chicago, Illinois, 1995
  • Tape: 6 Story: 21 - Photo - Sketch of Thomas Todd, Chicago, Illinois, 1972
  • Tape: 6 Story: 22 - Photo - Thomas Todd with Dr. Joseph B. Johnson, Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama, ca. 1993
  • Tape: 6 Story: 23 - Photo - Thomas Todd with his daughters, Traci and Tamara, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, 1995
  • Tape: 6 Story: 24 - Photo - Thomas Todd, Jefferson City, Missouri, January 2002
  • Tape: 6 Story: 25 - Photo - Poster of Thomas Todd, Greenwood, Mississippi, December 2001
  • Tape: 6 Story: 26 - Photo - Thomas Todd, Nashville, Tennessee, April 2002
  • Tape: 6 Story: 27 - Photo - Thomas Todd, NASA Glen, Cleveland, Ohio, February 2002
  • Tape: 6 Story: 28 - Photo - Thomas Todd, Mobile, Alabama, ca. Easter 1947
  • Tape: 6 Story: 29 - Photo - Thomas Todd, Chicago, Illinois, 2000
  • Tape: 6 Story: 30 - Photo - Thomas Todd, Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, May 1988
  • Tape: 6 Story: 31 - Photo - Thomas Todd, Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, May 1988