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The Honorable Gregory Sleet

Judge Gregory M. Sleet was born on March 8, 1951 in New York, New York. He is the son of Moneta Sleet Jr., the first African American journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize. Sleet obtained his B.A. degree from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. He completed his J.D. degree from Rutgers University School of Law at Camden, New Jersey where he was an Earl Warren Scholar. Sleet began his career as an assistant public defender for the Defender Association of Philadelphia. He later left the Defender Association to join a private practice, later to serve as the Deputy Attorney General for the State of Delaware.

In 1992, Sleet worked as General Counsel for Hercules, Inc., a chemical and munitions company based in Wilmington, Delaware. In 1994, at the recommendation of Delaware United States Senator Joe Biden, Sleet was selected by President Bill Clinton to serve as the United States Attorney for the District of Delaware. A year later, he was appointed by United States Attorney General Janet Reno to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee. He was further honored by being named the Vice Chairman of the committees’ 1995-96 session. On January 27, 1998, Sleet was nominated to the United States District Court for the District of Delaware and was sworn in as judge of that court on September 28, 1998. In 2007, Sleet became Chief Judge. He is responsible for representing the Delaware district at judicial policy-making bodies in the 3rd United States Circuit Court of Appeals, overseeing the general business and operation of the Delaware court. He is the first African American to be appointed United States Attorney in Delaware and the first to be appointed to the federal bench in Delaware.

Sleet is the recipient of the 1994 Distinguished Service Award from the NAACP. He has been named one of “Fifty of the Finest” graduates in the first fifty years of Rutgers University – Camden Division. In 1998, Delaware Today magazine selected him as Delawarean of the year. Sleet currently holds an adjunct teaching position at Widener University School of Law, where he teaches a course in patent litigation. Sleet is also a member of the Third Circuit Committee on Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions, the Third Circuit Judicial Council Automation & Technology Committee, the Third Circuit Judicial Council Facilities and Security Committee and Member of the Third Circuit Judicial Council Case Management Committee.

Judge Gregory Sleet was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 24, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.127

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/25/2012

Last Name

Sleet

Maker Category
Middle Name

M.

Schools

Hampton University

Rutgers School of Law

Ulysses Byas Elementary School

Little Stars Academy at the Lutheran Church of the Epiphany

Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School

Lawrence Road Middle School

Uniondale High School

Connecticut College

First Name

Gregory

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

SLE01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Delaware

Birth Date

3/8/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Wilmington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Red Snapper

Short Description

Federal district court judge and united states attorney The Honorable Gregory Sleet (1951 - ) was the first African American U.S. Attorney in Delaware, and the first African American to be appointed to the federal bench in Delaware.

Employment

Public Defender Association of Philadelphia

Hercules, Inc.

District of Delaware

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Gregory Sleet's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet recalls visiting his maternal family in Lynchburg, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet remembers his mother's career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet talks about his paternal grandfather's career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet recalls his father's memorial celebration in Owensboro, Kentucky

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet talks about his father's military service in World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his father's graduate education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet talks about his father's work at Our World magazine

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet talks about his father's career at Ebony magazine

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet remembers his father's Pulitzer Prize

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his likeness to his father

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet talks about his community in Roosevelt, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet recalls his early educational experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his transition to parochial education

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet remembers Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School in Brookville, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet recalls transferring to Lawrence Road Junior High School in Hempstead, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet remembers his early academic record

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his early influences

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet talks about his family's emphasis on education

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet recalls travelling with his father

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet remembers his father's photographs of the March on Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his father's international travels

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet remembers learning to use a darkroom

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet recalls the television and radio programs of his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet recalls his aspiration to become a lawyer, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet talks about his early experiences of religion

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet remembers his aspiration to become a lawyer, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 15 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his activities during high school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet remembers leading a walk out at Uniondale High School in Uniondale, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet talks about his black political heroes

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet recalls his interest in attending Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet remembers enrolling at the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his mentors at the Hampton Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet talks about his student activism at the Hampton Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet recalls applying to law school

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet remembers his experiences at the Rutgers School of Law in Camden, New Jersey

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his mentors at the Rutgers School of Law

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet talks about the protests at the Rutgers School of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet remembers the Watergate hearings

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet talks about the Earl Warren Scholarship

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet recalls his introduction to public defense

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes the purpose of the Philadelphia Defenders Association

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet talks about the duties of the Philadelphia Defenders Association

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes the demographics of his public defense clients

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet recalls his experiences of racial discrimination in the courtroom

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his transition to private law practice

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet recalls his position as corporate counsel at Hercules, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet talks about his appointment as a U.S. Attorney

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet recalls his nomination to the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet remembers the U.S. Congressional confirmation process

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his role on the Attorney General's Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet talks about his role as a federal district judge

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet remembers United States v. John Walter Trala

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his responsibilities as chief judge

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet talks about the NFL sports betting case

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet recalls the case of United States v. Thomas S. Pendleton

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet remembers the execution of Shannon Johnson, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet remembers the execution of Shannon Johnson, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his position on the death penalty

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Gregory Sleet narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

3$2

DATitle
The Honorable Gregory Sleet recalls transferring to Lawrence Road Junior High School in Hempstead, New York
The Honorable Gregory Sleet remembers Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School in Brookville, New York
Transcript
I guess she [Sleet's mother, Juanita Harris Sleet] talked with my dad [Moneta Sleet], and they decided that--she called up one of her colleagues in her sister school. My mother taught at a school, a junior high school called Turtle Hook [Turtle Hook Junior High School; Turtle Hook Middle School] over in Uniondale, New York. And the sister school was Lawrence Road Junior High [Lawrence Road Junior High School; Lawrence Road Middle School, Hempstead, New York], and that was seventh through ninth, was how it worked in New York.$$So what's the name of it again, this--$$Her, my mom's school was Turtle Hook, Turtle Hook.$$Okay. But the school that you went to--$$Lawrence Road.$$Lawrence Road, okay.$$Yeah, junior high. So, she called up a colleague and friend of hers who was a guidance counselor there, Carolyn Cassio [ph.], who's now passed, and they decided on my future (laughter). They said, decided, 'cause back then, they track, you were in tracks in public school. And they decided that the best track--I forget what it was--I think I was in, you know, you track one through something, and I was in 7-2, I believe. And she said, Ms. Cassio, I remember saying, "We're not going to put you in 7-1." I don't remember what the reason was. She wanted me in 7-2, so that's what I did. I went, and through Lawrence Road and graduated from Lawrence Road, and went on to the high school, Uniondale High School [Uniondale, New York].$$Now 7-2 would, like the middle road--$$No, that would be like, just a notch below honors--$$Okay.$$--the highest honor--7-1, if you think the highest honor. I was in an honors track.$$Okay.$$Yeah, and then, you know, then you had 7-3, four, five, so there were several tracks below that. In any event, that's what, that's the way they decided I was going to be tracked. It wasn't based on any testing or anything that I knew about. It was, I guess, they looked on my, looked--Ms. Cassio looked at my academic record, and she knew me, as well, and decided that's where I was going to be tracked.$Then my parents [Juanita Harris Sleet and Moneta Sleet] thought that the experiment was doing okay. So they, they wanted to continue. So then I went--they put me, enrolled me in Long Island Lutheran High School [Long Island Lutheran Junior Senior High School; Long Island Lutheran Middle and High School], pretty well known Long Island High School in Brook- Brookville, Brookville, Long Island [New York]. At seventh grade, I didn't complete the seventh year. And this is one of those things, I can tell you exactly where I was when President Kennedy [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] was shot. I was sitting outside in front of Dean Dutton's [ph.] office, one of the vice deans who was in charge of discipline. I hadn't actually done anything wrong this particular day other than tripped up the stairs coming, and fell into a door, and got, had a big knot on my head. So they called my mother who had to interrupt her day at school, about forty minutes away. It was a forty, at least a forty minute bus ride from where we lived out to Long Island Lutheran. And my head, it was all swelled up, and I have the clearest recollection of sitting out in a chair across from his office. The door was open, and he had a radio on. And you knew something was going on because people started gathering. And I remember this guy running down the hall. I believe he was a senior--I don't know his name, I know he was a white guy. That's what I remember about him, and he came down the hall yelling, "They finally got him, they finally got him." And I then walked to Dean Dutton's office, and that's when I learned that President Kennedy had been assassinated. My mother was literally a mess by the time she got to me. She cried the whole way home. And by that and, so that tragedy, coupled with--it wasn't first time she had to come to school (laughter), you know. It just so happened this was a benign purpose this time, but she just tired of it.