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The Honorable Myron Thompson

Federal District Court Judge Myron Herbert Thompson was born on January 7, 1947 in Tuskegee, Alabama to Lawrence and Lillian Thompson. At age two, Thompson contracted polio and spent much of his time alone, finding solace in jazz and classical music. He attended Tuskegee Institute High School where he was named class salutatorian in 1965. Thompson received his B.A. degree in political science from Yale University in 1969 and his J.D. degree from Yale Law School in 1972.

After graduation, Thompson became the first African American Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alabama. He served in this position for two years before going into private practice in Dothan, Alabama. Thompson’s firm handled labor law, civil rights, school desegregation, sex discrimination and First Amendment cases.

President Jimmy Carter nominated Thompson to the bench of the United States District Court, Middle District of Alabama. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and received his appointment in September of 1980. At age thirty-three, he was the youngest member of the bench. Thompson served as Chief Justice from 1991 to 1998.

Thompson presides over the same court room where many landmark civil rights cases were argued and decided. He had the court restored to stand as a testament to history. Thompson also made national headlines when he ordered Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the State of Alabama’s courthouse. He remains as much of an active legal scholar as his position permits, often calling for the executive and legislative branches to accept more responsibility for constitutional oversight that too often is left as the responsibility of judges. Thompson has served on the bench for twenty-seven years.

Myron Thompson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 20, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.100

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/20/2007

Last Name

Thompson

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Tuskegee Institute High School

Tuskegee Institute Middle School

Yale University

Yale Law School

First Name

Myron

Birth City, State, Country

Tuskegee

HM ID

THO13

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mexico City, Mexico

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alabama

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/7/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Montgomery

Country

USA

Short Description

Federal district court judge The Honorable Myron Thompson (1947 - ) became the first African American Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alabama. President Jimmy Carter nominated Thompson to the bench of the United States District Court, Middle District of Alabama; he served as Chief Justice from 1991 to 1998.

Employment

U.S. Judiciary

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:15102,256:16446,278:28609,364:29241,373:33744,474:39827,613:40301,621:53580,760:56730,828:57220,835:57640,843:62718,911:66518,998:68950,1042:69710,1054:77766,1204:78298,1213:79058,1225:82478,1287:84606,1320:84986,1326:85594,1339:86050,1347:86962,1358:87874,1373:88254,1379:113218,1686:113631,1695:118351,1818:119177,1833:119944,1845:120357,1853:132137,1975:132492,1980:132989,2026:134977,2067:135332,2072:158323,2283:167592,2457:179290,2575$0,0:5684,101:6054,107:7164,141:8126,155:10790,202:11160,208:13898,253:14342,260:16488,298:17080,307:17746,322:20706,379:21372,391:27876,413:28492,421:29020,428:32628,484:33244,492:33860,499:38876,585:48116,756:64281,888:64686,894:65415,910:66468,930:67035,938:68250,964:68898,978:69546,986:70599,1011:70923,1016:71247,1021:78900,1099:80391,1137:82379,1173:97450,1381:97922,1392:98217,1398:98807,1413:99043,1418:99928,1440:100695,1456:109900,1620
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98757">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Myron Thompson's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98758">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Myron Thompson lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98759">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Myron Thompson describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98760">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Myron Thompson talks about his father's occupations and interests</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98761">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Myron Thompson describes his maternal grandparents, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98762">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Myron Thompson describes his maternal grandparents, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98763">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Myron Thompson remembers his maternal step-grandmother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98764">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Myron Thompson describes his mother's experience at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98765">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Myron Thompson shares his experience contracting polio in 1949</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98766">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Myron Thompson remembers being treated for polio at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98767">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Myron Thompson describes the impact that polio had on his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98768">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Myron Thompson shares the lessons he learned from his mother, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98769">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Myron Thompson shares the lessons he learned from his mother, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98770">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Myron Thompson talks about his step-father and the Butler Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church in Tuskegee, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98771">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Myron Thompson describes the impact of moving from the Tuskegee Institute to the Butler Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church in Tuskegee, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98772">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Myron Thompson recalls his experience riding on the bus to Tuskegee Institute High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98773">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Myron Thompson describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98774">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Myron Thompson talks about his brother, Lawrence Thompson, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98775">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Myron Thompson describes the activities he participated in with the group Jack and Jill</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98776">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Myron Thompson describes his experience at Tuskegee Institute High School, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98777">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Myron Thompson describes his experience at Tuskegee Institute High School, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98778">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Myron Thompson reflects on his lack of Civil Rights involvement in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98779">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Myron Thompson recalls visiting colleges and his decision to attend Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98780">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Myron Thompson describes adjusting to the environment of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98781">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Myron Thompson reflects on his time at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98782">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Myron Thompson describes his introduction to culture at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98783">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Myron Thompson reflects on his lack of political involvement at Yale Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98784">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Myron Thompson recalls becoming involved with the trial of Black Panther Bobby Seale</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98785">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Myron Thompson recalls becoming the Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98786">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Myron Thompson describes his experience in private law practice in Dothan, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98787">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Myron Thompson recalls working with Federal District Court Judge Frank Minis Johnson, Jr., pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98788">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Myron Thompson recalls working with Federal District Court Judge Frank Minis Johnson, Jr., pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98789">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Myron Thompson recalls his appointment as a Federal District Court Judge, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98790">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Myron Thompson recalls his appointment as a Federal District Court Judge, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98791">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Myron Thompson reflects on becoming a Federal District Court Judge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98792">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Myron Thompson recalls his first decision, in a case of use of deadly force by a police officer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98793">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Myron Thompson describes a his judicial decision on the special education system in Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98794">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Myron Thompson recalls ordering Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98795">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Myron Thompson talks about some of the discrimination cases he decided as a Federal District Court Judge in Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98796">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Myron Thompson describes his prison and voting rights cases</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98797">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Myron Thompson talks about his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98798">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Myron Thompson shares his message for future generations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98799">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Myron Thompson reflects upon his lack of regrets and his plans for the future</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98800">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Myron Thompson talks about his relationship with other judges and balancing his work and home life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/98801">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Myron Thompson reflects upon his legacy</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

3$3

DATitle
Myron Thompson recalls becoming involved with the trial of Black Panther Bobby Seale
Myron Thompson recalls his first decision, in a case of use of deadly force by a police officer
Transcript
But when I got to law school and there was this strong impact of my step-mother and my, I mean, my step-father [Kenneth Buford] and my mother, and the war breaking out, the war movement being at its real height. I remember the [Robert George] Bobby Seale trial and that was my first real involvement on a public level. The Bobby Seale trial, I don't know if you remember that, was when he was a Black Panther and he was tried in New Haven [Connecticut] for murder and the President of Yale [University in New Haven, Connecticut] named Kingman Brewster, had questioned whether he could get a fair trial before a jury in Connecticut, particular for this may--might be an all-white jury. And a lot of editorials were written attacking Kingman Brewster for his comments and indeed Spiro Agnew, who was then Vice President of the United States, with [President Richard M.] Nixon had attacked Kingman Brewster for sort of saying, questioning whether Bobby Seale could get a fair trial. And I wrote a letter to the Montgomery Advertiser here in Montgomery, Alabama, and I, and I remember prefacing it by saying that I am an Alabamian, I didn't say that I was black, I just said I'm an Alabamian and I think that the question of whether a black person can get a fair trial is an appropriate question to ask. And I remember after writing that letter, which they published in a local paper here coming from someone at Yale, my mother [Lillian Glanton Thompson Buford] said that several FBI agents came to see her and said that they had seen the letter, now you have to remember that my mother and I had different last names and, as far as she knew, they did not know that I was her son, and that was really the beginning of my sensitivity of what, what was going on in the world and I guess that's when I admitted, sort of metaphorically speaking, I started looking up from the pages of the book and then decided, you know, what did I want to do with my life, I'd gone to work on Wall Street [New York City, New York], I'd--in the summers, I knew what it was like to be a Wall Street lawyer and then I decided I wanted to do Civil Rights work and to come back to Alabama and to devote my life to, to doing Civil Rights work in Alabama. And I will say this in my behalf, and I'm somewhat proud of it, I was a late bloomer in the sense that I was the one who woke up late, but I was the only one who took--who ran the whole course. (Laughter)$$Okay.$$Many of my friends who were out their demonstrating did not come back to Alabama and do what I did.$$Right, you're exactly right.$It was a promised land, but it was hard. And I--getting a little bit into the judging, I remember my first decision [Ayler v. Hopper, 1981], controversial decision dealt with deadly force and I was the first judge in Alabama to have declared the use of deadly force without probable cause, that is shooting someone like a fleeing felon without probable cause to believe he was a danger, was unconstitutional, and several people told me I invited, I invented that out of whole cloth. Several judges told me that I probably would be reversed on appeal and I remember, this gets back to Judge Johnson, Frank [Minis] Johnson [Jr.] met me in the hall one day and he says, "Myron, he says be prepared to get reversed," but he says, you're right, your ruling is right, but if anything I can do as an appellate judge, I'm gonna make sure that you're ultimately affirmed." And a year after, two years later, after my decision went up in another case, that ended up, same decision, the Supreme Court came down with the very same decision I came down with and the Eleventh Circuit affirmed me in my case and went out of their way to say that the district judge is to be praised for predicting that the law, how the law was going to become out here. But I sweated, and it was rough, but it was definitely worth it. And what we obviously--the undercurrent here is we know who's being shot, these were black defendants who were fleeing and they were routinely being shot whether they posed a danger to anyone or not, you know, the police would just shoot you, and they can't do that. And I said, it's wrong, you just can't do it.

The Honorable Gregory Mathis

Judge Greg Mathis, the youngest elected judge in Michigan’s history, was born on April 5, 1960, in Detroit, Michigan. Raised by his mother, Mathis’s troubled upbringing and membership in the Errol Flynns gang is documented in his 2002 autobiography Inner City Miracle. After attending Herman Gardens Elementary School, Peterson Seventh Day Adventist School, and Wayne Memorial High School, Mathis earned his GED through Operation PUSH while on juvenile probation in 1977. Mathis received his B.S. degree in public administration from Eastern Michigan University in 1982 and his J.D. degree from the University of Detroit Law School in 1987. Mathis led the Free South Africa and voter registration campaigns at Eastern Michigan University.

In 1983 Mathis joined the staff of Detroit City Councilman Clyde Cleveland, volunteered for Operation Push, and worked on Reverend Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign in 1984. In 1986, Mathis, his wife Linda, and some friends formed Young Adults Asserting Themselves (YAAT) and four preschools in Detroit. Chosen to head Reverend Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign in Michigan, Mathis later worked as the manager of Detroit’s Neighborhood City Halls for the late Mayor Coleman A. Young. In 1995, Mathis was elected to Michigan’s 36 District Court, and in 1998 Warner Brothers Television launched the Judge Mathis Show.

Featured prominently in both the print and electronic media, Mathis has been the recipient of many awards and honors. A chairman of Rainbow/PUSH-Excel board, a lifetime member of the NAACP, and a member the Southern Christian Leadership Conference board, Mathis and his wife and college sweetheart, Linda, have raised four children.

Accession Number

A2005.055

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/25/2005

12/15/2006

Last Name

Mathis

Maker Category
Schools

Peterson Seventh Day Adventist School

Herman Gardens Elementary School

Peterson-Warren Seventh Day Adventist School

Wayne Memorial High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Gregory

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

MAT03

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Mark D. Goodman

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

Believe In God And Believe In Yourself, And You Can Overcome Any Obstacle.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Interview Description
Birth Date

4/5/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Greens (Collard)

Short Description

Federal district court judge and television personality The Honorable Gregory Mathis (1960 - ) was the youngest elected judge in Michigan’s history, and the host of the Warner Brothers Television program, the Judge Mathis Show.

Employment

State of Michigan

Warner Brothers

Jackson Campaign

Detroit Neighborhood City Hall

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:5500,154:9468,177:11244,202:11762,210:12650,227:13686,242:17312,307:18792,343:19088,348:19384,359:20346,383:21382,482:30838,557:33872,622:34612,633:35722,655:38608,698:40606,744:41198,753:41864,763:42382,771:54166,954:54980,965:55276,970:58870,1055:59630,1074:60238,1081:65710,1179:66394,1189:68750,1226:69282,1235:70574,1261:75504,1294:76120,1307:77088,1324:77440,1329:81285,1377:87814,1452:88870,1464:90542,1507:91686,1523:98228,1639:99444,1673:99900,1681:104080,1755:104612,1764:109250,1781:111574,1814:112072,1821:112487,1827:117522,1892:122988,1956:125400,1971:133046,2017:137754,2063:138937,2078:139483,2085:142230,2093:143652,2128:145627,2159:148550,2309:161986,2490:163462,2528:175110,2715:180895,2844:181490,2853:181915,2859:183275,2880:185485,2893:185825,2898:189905,2966:200188,3081:201484,3100:201916,3107:215992,3347:216448,3356:217360,3373:218728,3411:233150,3590:235499,3659:235985,3667:240683,3762:244490,3802:260534,4005:261052,4043:261496,4050:262532,4065:263346,4079:264456,4091:264900,4098:269370,4134:269980,4146:270590,4157:271932,4191:272298,4199:273213,4220:276638,4240:277206,4249:277561,4255:282160,4299:290576,4439:291598,4459:292912,4486:294730,4493$0,0:249,6:1826,25:5810,135:11703,261:13114,279:13612,287:13944,292:14525,301:26040,413:26600,422:27480,435:27800,440:28680,452:29320,464:34360,569:35000,579:39862,617:40534,625:42550,654:56989,877:58411,901:62519,1011:71367,1103:71691,1108:77442,1213:78333,1231:83510,1250:85575,1286:95580,1381:101076,1465:109944,1537:112464,1583:113220,1593:113976,1604:114564,1612:114900,1617:115824,1630:117252,1648:120560,1659:120868,1664:121176,1669:121715,1677:123655,1695:125647,1722:127722,1761:128220,1769:128635,1791:135067,1882:135613,1889:140370,1919:143310,1940:143586,1945:147036,2006:147312,2014:147588,2019:148209,2042:148554,2048:152073,2131:152763,2146:153522,2159:153936,2185:162234,2293:162522,2298:163386,2376:172572,2396:174054,2420:175224,2456:175536,2461:180745,2480:184316,2505:184612,2510:185426,2522:186980,2550:192752,2668:193344,2678:205538,2782:208394,2826:211670,2881:212678,2896:217200,2944:221110,3015:221620,3023:222045,3029:223915,3065:225955,3110:226380,3119:227230,3132:237470,3222
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278345">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Gregory Mathis' interview, session 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278346">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278347">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278348">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes his maternal grandfather, Walter Lee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278349">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes his family's connection to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278350">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes his mother, Alice Lee Mathis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278351">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes his father, Charles Mathis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278352">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes his upbringing as a Seventh-day Adventist</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278353">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278354">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes his childhood neighborhood of Prairie Street in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278355">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278356">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278357">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis talks about the music of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278358">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis remembers the racial environment of his neighborhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278359">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis recalls a typical day at his childhood home</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278360">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes himself as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278361">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis recalls getting in trouble in school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278362">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis recalls the deteriorating conditions in the Herman Gardens Housing Projects in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278363">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis remembers the negative relationship between police and the community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278364">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis remembers the time his mother was attacked</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278365">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Gregory Mathis' interview, session 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278366">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278367">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis remembers his life as a teenager</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278368">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis remembers an incident between his mother and his teacher</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278369">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis recalls his critical foundation in church and school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278370">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes himself as a young student</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278371">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis recalls his lowest point as a young man</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278372">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes the gang he joined as a young man</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278373">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis remembers first encountering the Errol Flynns gang</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278374">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis remembers his descent into crime and gang activity</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278375">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis remembers the judge who spared him from jail time</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278376">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis talks about being admitted to Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278377">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes returning to crime after his mother died</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278378">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis tells how he met his wife, Linda Mathis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278379">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis remembers deciding to become a lawyer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278380">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis recalls his campus activism at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278381">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis details his aspirations as a senior in college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278382">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis speaks about his life after graduating from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278383">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis remembers working for HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson's presidential campaign</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278384">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis remembers working for Detroit City Councilman Clyde Cleveland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278385">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis reflects on the political and economic history of Detroit, Michigan, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278386">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis reflects on the political and economic history of Detroit, Michigan, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278387">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis explains how he obtained his law license</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278388">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis remembers working for Mayor Coleman Young</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278389">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes the youth agency he started</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278390">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes what motivated him to run for court judge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278391">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis reflects on his experience as a district court judge in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278392">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis remembers fulfilling moments from his work in the community and the courts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278393">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis speaks about mental illness in the criminal justice system</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278394">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes the flaws in the criminal justice system, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278395">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes the flaws in the criminal justice system, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278396">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis explains how he became a television star</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278397">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis remembers telling HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson about his TV show offer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278398">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis explains the legal details of the 'Judge Mathis' show</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278399">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis recalls a memorable case on his TV show</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278400">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis reflects on the value of judge shows on television</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278401">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278402">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278403">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278404">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis talks about his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278405">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis speaks about staying connected to his community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/278406">Tape: 7 Story: 10 - The Honorable Gregory Mathis describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

DASession

2$2

DATape

4$7

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
The Honorable Gregory Mathis remembers deciding to become a lawyer
The Honorable Gregory Mathis recalls a memorable case on his TV show
Transcript
What were you majoring in, in college [Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan]?$$I started out, doing what everybody else said I should do, and that is engineering or business administration, because that's where the jobs were. My first semester, engineering. I was reading up on it and hearing about the classes. I don't think I like that. So, next semester, business administration.$$You must have been a good math student.$$No, not at all. That was the (laughter) that was the problem. When they started hitting me--those were my weakest courses. And, when they started hitting me with them, I quickly determined that I wouldn't be in business nor engineering. The fact is, my first year, perhaps year-and-a-half, I was on academic probation because those courses were killing me. I had never went past algebra, in high school, and went to the tenth grade. Never had a chemistry course. Don't even remember whether I had a biology course, in high school [Cody High School, Detroit, Michigan]. So, when they started hitting me with that; I was on the ropes, averaging Ds in all my math and science courses. The only thing that saved me were the: English, political science; social studies, my favorite subject; psychology, those type of courses. I did very well in, in college, the first two years. That kept me in. And, so, I decided I couldn't be in business nor could I be an engineer where everybody's saying the money and jobs fields they were going to be going to be the most successful in. Well, I went to the library, and I tell young people this all the time. I actually went to the library and got this career handbook. I said I'm gonna look up something else. And the career handbook had a test that you could take to tell you what you're most skilled at and what careers your skills would allow you to be most successful in. So, I took this battery, or this test, and, it gave me a list of things I'll be great at; a social worker, school teacher, lawyer, psychologist. So, of course, I said well, I thought long about the sociologist or social worker, because you know, once again I was attracted to wanting to change conditions of my community and attracted to being involved in the outside world somehow (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) So, were you able to then--at that age--make a connection between--I mean it's one thing to hear you now, as [HistoryMaker] Judge [Gregory] Mathis, talk about the social conditions creating, you know, mayhem in people and that sort of thing, but at that age, had you begin, had you begun to put it together?$$Yeah, because one: I used to read some of those Black Panther [Black Panther Party] papers that my brother used to bring home. Read 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X' [Malcolm X and Alex Haley], which was very eye-opening. [HistoryMaker] Reverend [Jesse L.] Jackson, Jesse Jackson, had come to speak to the jail facility I was in and spoke to us jailers while we were there, and, that kind of motivated me to want to get into the movement. And, so all those things kind of converged when I took that test. I said social work, I can kind of help solve some of the problems in my community. Then, I said, but I remember Malcolm [X] always wanted to be a lawyer, but by then I was feeling like, you know, that he was one of my role-models then. Malcolm went to jail, he came out, and he became somebody. And, he was able to make a difference in his community. That's what I want to do. I want to do what Malcolm did. Not that I thought I was anything like him. I certainly have never been that--had that strength of character, but he was a great role-model; and so, I recall, that he told the teacher he wanted to be a lawyer and the teacher told him he could never be a lawyer. So he said--$$He said more than that, I think, in the autobiography.$$Yeah, you're right. So, I wanted to be a lawyer; and, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. And, this is the best way to achieve justice and social change. So, from that point on, I switched my major to public administration which was the business of public policy meaning running non-profits, working for government agencies. And the reason I chose that is because I had enough business courses to transfer those over to a new major. And, so, I took those business courses I had taken enroute to a business administration degree, transferred over to a public administration degree and majored in that, in undergrad, with a desire to go to law school.$Well, what have been--so many of these shows, every week there's something that's interesting. What's been--is there one or two cases that are more--$$Yeah, believe it or not, it wouldn't be some of the more outrageous stuff that you see [on 'Judge Mathis']. Folks often think that is what would be most impressionable to me, and it's not it is really matters of the heart that stand out with me the most. For example, probably the most outstanding case, in my mind, was the young man who was suing his parents. He was in his third year of college--I think maybe a senior in college, and he was suing his parents because they had a light bill in his name and they had failed to pay the light bill. So, it's like: "I'm suing them. They didn't pay this light bill and it's about to ruin my credit." Hundred dollars or whatever it was. And he was in the right. He had the right to sue and he was about to win his judgment and I asked the parents there's nothing I can do, but: "Why didn't you all pay this bill? Why did you have to put it in his name?" "Well, Your Honor, we had to put it in his name because our credit is ruined." "Why didn't you pay?" "We can't afford it. Your Honor, we in bad shape, financially, it's because all of his life, from K [kindergarten] through twelve, we sent him to a private school, paid for that. And, we've paid for all his college. That's why we can't pay this light bill. That's why we have bad credit." So, it was just amazing to me, that a young man would sue his parents for being in financial straits--when the reason they're in financial straits is because they provided him with a privileged education, that will forever allow him to be a successful, productive and prosperous citizen. So, those are the type of cases that touch me.$$That sounds like a primer on how not to spoil a child or something--$$Absolutely. And, it sounds like a issue of character, an issue of character. That stands out the most, that case, in particular. It must have four or five years ago, but that it still stands out. Perhaps because I didn't have any parents to support, me, and perhaps because of the sacrifice my mother [Alice Lee Mathis] made sending me to church-school spending more on my church-school tuition than she did on our rent. Maybe that weighs in, as well.$$You said there was another one? Was there another one?$$Well, there were so many that resemble this scenario I'm going to give you, and that being a child or a parent suing a child for some destructive activity that the child may have caused the parent--maybe something in the household the child did or the child is a wayward child. And, then it comes out that the parent was drug-addicted all of the child's formative years. And it's like: "Don't you see the connection? You were negligent and perhaps abusive toward the child during your fifteen-year drug addiction, and then you are shocked that the child is living a destructive life. You were negligent in raising the child; you caused some of these problems; you lived in poverty; you were negligent toward raising the child; you left the child in the crime and drug-infested household while you were off doing your thing and now you wonder?"

The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson

Federal district court judge Thelton Eugene Henderson was born in Shreveport, Louisiana on November 28, 1933 to Wanzie and Eugene Marion Henderson. Henderson grew-up in the South central area of Los Angeles, California in an all-black neighborhood. He graduated from Jefferson High School in Los Angeles and was the recipient of a football scholarship to attend the University of California at Berkeley. In 1956, Henderson graduated with his B.A. degree in political science. Later, in 1962, Henderson earned his J.D. degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley and was admitted to the California Bar in January of 1963.

Both his high school counselor and football coach was alumnus of the University of California at Berkeley and encouraged him to attend their alma mater. While there, he became interested in African American history and helped to form an organization that catered to African American students. After graduating from college, he was drafted into the United States Army, where he served as a clinical psychology technician. Thereafter, he earned his law degree and was hired as an attorney with the civil rights division of the United States Department of Justice, where he served from 1962 to 1963. During his tenure with the Justice Department, Henderson investigated patterns of discriminatory practices in the South. Returning to Northern California, he practiced general law in private practice and was the directing attorney of the East Bayshore Neighborhood Legal Center in Palo Alto. From 1968 to 1976, Henderson was the assistant dean of the Stanford University School of Law. There, he helped increase minority enrollment to twenty percent of the student body and taught law classes.

In 1977, Henderson became a founding partner of Rosen, Remcho and Henderson in San Francisco, where he remained until 1980. He also taught administrative law and civil procedure at Golden State University of Law in San Francisco. In 1980, Henderson was appointed to the United States Federal Court and became the Chief Judge of the United States District of Northern California in 1990, thus becoming the first African American to reach that position. In 1998, he became Senior U.S. District Judge. Henderson was the recipient of the 2003 American Inns of Court Circuit Professionalism Award for the Ninth Circuit in recognition of a senior practicing lawyer or judge whose life and practice serves as an example for others.

He is divorced and has one son. He resides in Berkeley, California and enjoys fly-fishing.

Thelton Henderson was interviewed by The HistoryMaker on April 7, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.044

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/7/2004

Last Name

Henderson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Eugene

Schools

Thomas Jefferson High School

University of California, Berkeley

Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California

First Name

Thelton

Birth City, State, Country

Shreveport

HM ID

HEN01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Fishing

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/28/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Federal district court judge The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson (1933 - ) was the first African American Chief Judge of the United States District of Northern California, and has served as the Assistant Dean of the Stanford University School of Law.

Employment

United States Department of Justice

East Bayshore Neighborhood Legal Center

Stanford Law School

Rosen, Remcho & Henderson

Golden Gate University School of Law

United States District Court, Northern District of California

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191539">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191540">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191541">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191542">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his father's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191543">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his maternal and paternal grandparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191544">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his earliest memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191545">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about growing up in South Central Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191546">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his and his family's relationship to church</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191547">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191548">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his experiences at Trinity Street Elementary School in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191549">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his childhood dreams and aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191550">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his junior high and high school experiences in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191551">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes how he applied to the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191552">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about playing baseball and football while attending Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191553">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson recalls his academic experience at Jefferson High School and in his pre-college courses at University of California, Berkeley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191554">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his friends at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191555">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his academic plans for attending the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191556">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his experiences at the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191557">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his courses at the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191558">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about playing football at the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191559">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his timeline following his 1956 graduation from the University of California, Berkeley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191560">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his experiences at Boalt Hall, the University of California, Berkley School of Law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191561">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes the racial demographics of Boalt Hall, the University of California, Berkeley School of Law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191562">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about passing the State of California bar examination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191563">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his employment expectations following Boalt Hall, the University of California Berkeley School of Law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191564">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes how he came to work for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191565">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about working for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191566">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his field experiences working for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191567">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his field experiences working for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191568">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson explains how the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department built a case for voting discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191569">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on his outlook on race, segregation and discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191570">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his experiences interacting with the Federal Bureau of Investigation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191571">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his resignation from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department in 1963</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191572">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on his outlook on his life and law career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191573">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his relationship with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on Washington</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191574">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson remembers the 16th Street Baptist church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191575">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson remembers the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191576">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson reflects upon leaving the U.S. Justice Department in 1964</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191577">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his career path following his work for the U.S. Justice Department, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191578">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes his relationship with Medgar Evers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191579">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson remembers driving James Baldwin from Selma to Birmingham, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191580">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his career path following his work for the U.S. Justice Department, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191581">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his experiences working as a lawyer in Oakland, California in the 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191582">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about working as assistant dean at Stanford Law School in Stanford, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191583">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about working in a law practice with Joe Remcho and Sandy Rosen in the late 1970s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191584">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson explains how he was appointed as a federal judge for the Northern District of California in 1980</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191585">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his work on the appeal for United States v. Banks and Means (Wounded Knee)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191586">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson describes the Krause v. Rhodes appeal in 1977 and the values of his law firm, Rosen, Remcho and Henderson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191587">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about applying to be a federal judge for the Northern District of California, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/191588">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about applying to be a federal judge for the Northern District of California, pt. 2</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

4$8

DATitle
The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson talks about his academic plans for attending the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California
The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson remembers driving James Baldwin from Selma to Birmingham, Alabama
Transcript
All right. So, you've graduated from high school [Jefferson High School, Los Angeles, California] and you've gone to summer school. You're going to enter college. Did you have any i- what were you going to study? What were you plans when you went to college?$$When I went to college, as I said, I think, by then I knew I was gonna be a lawyer and not a doctor. And, I think those were the two choices I saw. And, I was willfully prepared to go to college. My mother--nobody in my family had ever gone to college, and I think, most of them had not graduated from high school. So, I was going in cold, not knowing what it was other than it sounded good. So, that the first day at Cal in registration, they had it outside, and you'd go to tables and they'd have letters of E to H or something. And, you'd get your cards and you'd fill them out. And, finally I got to a table and one of the cards said--one of the students that they'd hired to help with his process said, "What's you major?" She was filling it out. And, I said, "Law." And, I still remember this sort of condescending look, "Law is a graduate major. You're an undergraduate." And, I tell you, I didn't know the difference at that point, between graduate and undergraduate. I--and, I didn't know what my major was. So, she said, "Well, come back when you figure out your major." And, I walked off totally bewildered. And, at this time, if you're--University of California [University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California], one of the biggest schools in the nation at the time, had about less than twenty blacks going. So, I wandered around, I found one, and another one of lucky strokes of mine, I ran into Julius Devereaux. And, I said, "Well, what's your major?" And, he said, "Poli sci." And, I said, "What's poli sci?" He said, "Political science." And, he told me a little about it. And, I went back, and my major was political science. And, I've always thought over these years, he had a brother named Joe Devereaux who was an engineering major (laughter). And, I've often wondered if I'd bumped into Joe, would I had been an engineering major. I mean, I was that naive. I was, in fact, I'll tell you another story. Cal was so big, when I went to summer school, the football team registered me and did all of that for me and I lived in a boarding house there near campus. And, the first day, our class was at 101 Dwinelle. And, I went around looking for Dwinelle Street. I thought that was an address. I was--it's a miracle that I'm sitting here and you're interviewing me, and I survived all of that ignorance I brought to college. But, anyway, that's the way I started off.$There's another story, and tell me if these war stories are getting boring but, there's another story related to an [U.S.] Air Force base. James Baldwin was in Selma [Alabama], and I had met him in Birmingham when he was at the A.G. Gaston [Motel, Birmingham, Alabama]. And then things, the action moved to Selma and he was there. And, I was in the [U.S.] Post Office building where the federal presence was. And, I heard on the radio there, and I was the only one in there then, a two way radio conversation in which they were talking about Baldwin. And, I heard them say, "Yeah, we're gonna get that black nigger. He thinks he's," you know, "down here to tell us what to do." So, and, I don't know who it was, but I went out and I told him. I said, "Hey, I just heard this, and I think you better be careful." And, he says (makes noise). And, he says, "I better get out of here." The story is, I tell you it's absolutely true, but (laughter). So, he had driven there with a SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] worker who had this red convertible and, you know, I said, "No. I don't think you ought to be going in a red convertible." We talked, and we talked, and then finally, I said, "Well, look," it was getting late, "I'm going back to Birmingham, ride with me." And, so, we went and got in my car, and his brother, David [Baldwin], got in and this SNCC worker. And, I--he left his car there, as I recall. We got in the car and I was telling them all the things I had learned. "If--be careful, it's getting dark. If you see a car that seems to be following us, let me know. And, if a car comes up and it looks like it's gonna pass, watch out." Because sometimes they do the drive by. And, I was doing all of this and he was just scared, you know, thinking. And, then I was staying at the Air Force base [Craig Air Force Base], and that's what started this story. So, I hadn't checked out. So, I went to the air force base, went in, checked out, paid my--it's great I stayed in the officer's quarter. It cost one dollar a night to stay there. And, I don't know, I think my per diem then was twenty-five dollars. I came back to Washington always with a lot of money. It was a good deal. So, anyway, checked out of the air force base, got in the car, and drove to Birmingham. And, then he thanked me. And, two stories that grow from that. One, a while later he came to, this is after I lost my job and I was in Washington [D.C.], right. He came to Washington. He was a big attraction then. He was at the height of his fame and I went to this thing that was full of people and he said, "I want to introduce my friend, [HM] Thelton [E.] Henderson who saved my life," you know, and told the story. And, said, you know, and he told the story much like I told it, and then said, "But, you know, when I started feeling safe?" Talking to the audience, and answered his own quest--he said, "When he stopped at the military base and got a gun" (laughter). And, over all the years, I'd never had the nerve to tell him, I didn't get a gun (laughter).$$(Laughter).$$He thought, I had gone and got a gun and I was ready to (laughter). And, I never told him that I just got my suitcase (laughter). But, the other story that derives from that, he always said as we were driving and we got where we knew we safe, we weren't being followed, he said, he was gonna write about this incident and he had a title for it. It was gonna be called 'Flight to Birmingham.' And, the title was the irony, he said, "Last week I was in Birmingham [Alabama] and I thought that was the most dangerous place I'd ever been. And, now I'm fleeing to Birmingham." And, then he was gonna write about that, and he never did. I always looked forward to seeing him write about that incident.

The Honorable Blanche Manning

The appointment of Blanche M. Manning as United States District Court judge marks a momentous moment in Illinois history. Born December 12, 1934, in Chicago, Manning discovered her passion for law while working as a legal secretary to finance a bachelor's degree in education at DePaul University. She taught in Chicago public schools before pursuing a J.D. at John Marshall Law School. A jazz musician and enthusiast, Manning also studied music at Roosevelt University. She earned a master's of the laws of judicial process from the University of Virginia Law School.

In 1968, Manning began an exemplary legal career as assistant prosecutor in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. She subsequently worked as an attorney for the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, United Airlines and the United States Attorney's Office. Manning was promoted to judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1979. When she was elected to the Illinois Appellate Court in 1987, she became the first African American female member of that court. Accepting an appointment by President Bill Clinton, Manning began a lifetime position as district court jurist for the Northern District of Illinois in 1994. Her role in high-profile cases is chronicled in newspapers and books. Manning, who has contributed to workshops at the University of Chicago and Harvard law schools, served as adjunct professor of law at DePaul University College of Law. She is a fellow of the American Bar Association.

Manning has played in numerous jazz bands, and she regularly assembles her own band, Diversity, composed of musicians of diverse backgrounds. She has been involved in community development, and she received a "We Care" Role Model Award from Chicago police and public schools for ten consecutive years. Manning and her husband, William, whom she married in 1957, raised six nieces and nephews.

Accession Number

A2003.055

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/26/2003

Last Name

Manning

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Schools

Corpus Christi Elementary School

Christian Fenger Academy High School

Roosevelt University

Chicago State University

John Marshall Law School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Blanche

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

MAN04

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/12/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Cheese

Short Description

Federal district court judge The Honorable Blanche Manning (1934 - ) was the first African American woman to serve on the Illinois Appellate Court. In 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed Manning as district court judge for the Northern District of Illinois.

Employment

Cook County States Attorney's Office

Circuit Court of Cook County

Illinois Appellate Court

Northern District of Illinois

DePaul University College of Law

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

United Airlines

United States Attorney's Office

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85493">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Blanche Manning's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85494">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Blanche Manning lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85495">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Blanche Manning describes her family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85496">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Blanche Manning describes her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85497">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Blanche Manning describes her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85498">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Blanche Manning describes growing up on Chicago's South Side</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85499">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Blanche Manning describes her childhood personality and interests</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85500">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Blanche Manning describes her experiences in grade school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85501">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Blanche Manning describes performing in the band and orchestra at Fenger High School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85502">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Blanche Manning talks about playing jazz saxophone as a high school student</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85503">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Blanche Manning describes why stopped attending Roosevelt University's Chicago Musical College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85504">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Blanche Manning talks about working through college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86217">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Blanche Manning describes what inspired her to pursue a career as a lawyer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86218">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Blanche Manning talks about attending law school while working as a teacher and raising five children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86219">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Blanche Manning describes her experiences attending John Marshall Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86220">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Blanche Manning talks about the instructors that influenced her as a student at John Marshall Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86221">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Blanche Manning describes her experiences working as a prosecutor under Illinois State Attorney Edward Hanrahan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86222">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Blanche Manning talks about prosecuting a case where the defendant was innocent</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86223">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Blanche Manning talks about the challenges and responsibilities of being a prosecutor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86224">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Blanche Manning comments on the death penalty</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86225">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Blanche Manning describes the demographic makeup of the Illinois State Attorney's Office from 1968 to 1973</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86226">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Blanche Manning describes how economic disadvantages play a role in shaping how African American defendants are sentenced</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86227">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Blanche Manning describes the benefits of working as a prosecutor in the Illinois State Attorney's Office</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86228">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Blanche Manning talks about prosecuting a defendant who later requested that she defend him</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86229">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Blanche Manning describes the environment of the Illinois State's Attorney's Office</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86230">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Blanche Manning describes her experiences working as a supervisory trial lawyer for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86231">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Blanche Manning describes the most memorable cases she tried as a supervisory trial lawyer for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86232">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Blanche Manning describes the process of filing a case with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86233">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Blanche Manning describes leaving United Airlines to work in the Office of the United States Attorney</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86234">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Blanche Manning describes her experiences working for the United States Attorney's Office</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86235">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Blanche Manning describes the most memorable cases she tried for United States Attorney's Office</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86236">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Blanche Manning describes how she became a judge for Cook County Circuit Court</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86237">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Blanche Manning describes her experiences serving as a Judge for the Illinois Appellate Court</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86238">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Blanche Manning describes the most memorable case she heard while serving as a judge on the Illinois Appellate Court</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86239">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Blanche Manning describes her experiences serving as a United States District Court Judge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86240">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Blanche Manning describes the most memorable cases she heard while serving as a United States District Court Judge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86241">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Blanche Manning describes being sent a bomb in 1995</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86242">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Blanche Manning describes how she was appointed as a United States District Court Judge by President William "Bill" Clinton</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86243">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Blanche Manning describes how a candidate for federal judge can fail an FBI background check</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86244">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Blanche Manning talks about the "Operation Greylord" Scandal</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86245">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Blanche Manning talks about organizations that support black female judges and lawyers, as well as other professional organizations she is involved in</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86246">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Blanche Manning shares her hopes and concerns for the black community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/86247">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Blanche Manning comments on the perception of judges in popular culture</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85455">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Blanche Manning describes the character traits she shares with her parents, and her parents' pride in her accomplishments</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85456">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Blanche Manning describes her secondary career as a jazz musician</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85457">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Blanche Manning talks about some of the places she has performed</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85458">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Blanche Manning talks about her legacy and how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/85459">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Blanche Manning narrates her photographs</a>

The Honorable Damon J. Keith

Judge Damon J. Keith has had an illustrious career. Born on July 4, 1922, he has served as a United States Court of Appeals judge for the Sixth Circuit since 1977. Keith was the youngest of six children born to Annie and Perry Alexander Keith and the first to attend college. He graduated from West Virginia State College in 1943 and was then drafted into the military. His experiences in the segregated Army strengthened his conviction to the cause of civil rights. Keith received a J.D. from Howard Law School in 1949, passed the Michigan bar exam in 1950, and earned an L.L.M. from Wayne State University School of Law in 1956.

In 1964, Keith established his own law practice, Keith, Conyers, Anderson, Brown, & Wahls, with four other African American attorneys. Keith was also very active in the Democratic Party and used his political connections to help his community. He served as the chair to the Detroit Housing Commission and the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Keith to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, where he served as Chief Judge from 1975 to 1977 before President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Keith took senior status in 1995.

In 1993, the Damon J. Keith Law Collection, an archival resource devoted to the substantial historical accomplishments of African American lawyers and judges as well as the African American legal experience, was created at Wayne State University and named in his honor. Keith has received numerous awards and honors, including: thirty-eight honorary degrees from various colleges and universities; the NAACP's highest award, the Spingarn Medal; the 1997 American Bar Association's Thurgood Marshall Award; the Detroit Urban League's 1998 Distinguished Warrior Award; the Distinguished Public Service Award for the National Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith; the prestigious Edward J. Devitt Award for Distinguished Service to Justice; the Pinnacle Award at the 2000 Trumpet Awards in Atlanta; and the American Bar Association Spirit of Excellence Award in 2001.

Keith has also received the lifetime achievement award from the National Black College Alumni and was inducted into their Hall of Fame. Keith is married to Rachel Boone Keith, M.D., with whom he has three daughters.

Keith passed away on April 28, 2019.

Accession Number

A2002.154

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/21/2002

3/6/2007

Last Name

Keith

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

J.

Schools

Columbian Elementary School

McMichael Intermediate School

Northwestern High School

West Virginia State University

Howard University School of Law

Wayne State University School of Law

First Name

Damon

HM ID

KEI01

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

Favorite Vacation Destination

Richmond, Virginia

Favorite Quote

He Has Shown you, O Man, What Is Good. And What Does The Lord Require Of You? But To Act Justly, And To Love Mercy, And To Walk Humbly With Your God. - Micah 6:8

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/4/1922

Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Favorite Food

Peas (Black-Eyed)

Death Date

4/28/2019

Short Description

Federal district court judge The Honorable Damon J. Keith (1922 - 2019) has served as a Federal District Appellate Court Judge for the Sixth Circuit since 1977, and was appointed by Jimmy Carter. Keith is a Spingarn Medal winner. In 1993, the Damon J. Keith Law Collection, an archival resource devoted to the substantial historical accomplishments of African American lawyers and judges as well as the African American legal experience, was created at Wayne State University.

Employment

Loomis, Jones, Piper & Cohen

Eastern District of Michigan

United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9602">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Damon Keith interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9603">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Damon Keith's favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9604">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Damon Keith remembers his parents and siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9605">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Damon Keith recalls growing up in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9606">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Damon Keith discusses a judicial decision he made on racial discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9607">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Damon Keith explains his relationship with his father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9608">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Damon Keith talks about his decision to attend college and college experience</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9609">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Damon Keith describes his high school personality and interests</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9610">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Damon Keith remembers influential teachers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9611">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Damon Keith explains his motivation to attend Howard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9612">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Damon Keith remembers experiences at West Virginia State College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9613">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Damon Keith discusses his reasoning for studying law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9614">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Damon Keith talks about the separate but equal policy of the Southern states</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9615">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Damon Keith recalls experiences at Howard University Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9616">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Damon Keith talks about Thurgood Marshall's influence on his career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9617">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Damon Keith discusses various rulings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/9618">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Damon Keith remembers lessons learned at Loomis, Jones, Piper and Colden</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317560">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Damon J. Keith's interview, session 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317561">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls United States v. Sinclair (1971)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317562">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes the legacy of United States v. United States District Court (1972)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317563">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls Garrett v. Hamtramck (1974)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317564">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls Stamps v. Detroit Edison Co. (1973)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317565">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls Detroit Police Officers Association v. Young (1993)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317566">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls his mentorship of baseball player Willie Horton</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317567">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith reflects on Willie Horton's baseball career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317568">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls the prosecution of Anthony Giacalone</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317569">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317570">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes the importance of openness to democracy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317571">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recounts working to advance African American jurists</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317572">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls the funeral of Rosa Parks</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317573">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes the legacy of Rosa Parks</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317574">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes his friendships with government officials</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317575">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes working with Lani Guinier</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317576">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith reflects upon the influence of Howard University School of Law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317577">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes the legal struggle for integration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317578">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes the decline of Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317579">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317580">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317581">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes awards he received</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317582">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317583">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith remembers his late wife, Dr. Rachel Keith</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317584">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith reflects upon his family life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/317585">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

DASession

2$2

DATape

3$5

DAStory

6$2

DATitle
The Honorable Damon J. Keith recalls Detroit Police Officers Association v. Young (1993)
The Honorable Damon J. Keith describes working with Lani Guinier
Transcript
We were talking about the Detroit Police Officers Association v. Coleman Young [1993]--$$Yes.$$--I think that's where we left off.$$Well, the police officers association filed a motion for me to recuse myself because I knew Coleman Young. In fact, I swore him in as mayor of the City of Detroit [Michigan], and I refused to recuse myself. I said, "Just because he's black and I'm black why would you want me to recuse myself? I can be open-minded and fair." And they said no we want--and they appealed to the Court of Appeals of the Sixth Circuit [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit], and they affirmed me, said, "Judge Keith [HistoryMaker Damon J. Keith] doesn't have to relieve himself of this case." And I went on to hear it and affirmed the affirmative action program, and we had very few blacks who were above the sergeant status in the police department, at that time, and now they've all gone up and they've done well, but it was through Coleman Young's affirmative action program of the police department. That's why the Detroit Police Officers Association sued Coleman Young, because he was the mayor of the city, and I drew the case, and they wanted to relieve me, but incidentally after I had made the decision and then the organization gave me high praise and had my picture on the front page of the magazine dealing with the police department. They said, "Judge Keith was absolutely fair and impartial."$$Now, are you familiar with the case of the African American Patrolmen's League [Afro-American Patrolmen's League] of Chicago [Illinois] vs. the City of Chicago that Judge Prentice Marshall ruled on, I guess, back in--$$No, I'm not familiar.$$Okay, all right I thought I'd ask because in that case the black union sued the city for affirmative action, some kind of program and Marshall entered--he--well he came up with a consent decree where they had to do so much every year.$$Well, Larry [Larry Crowe], you know it's interesting, I was talking to Congressman Conyers [HistoryMaker John Conyers, Jr.] today about the power that he has now as head of the judiciary of the United States Congress, and I was saying, "Congressman Conyers, the independence of the judiciary is absolutely vital in importance." I said, "If it hadn't been for the federal judges down south, Frank Johnson [Frank M. Johnson, Jr.] and the others who desegregated the schools, the drinking fountains, and things like that under the threat of terror, it would have been bad. So, it's important that you, John Conyers, as the chairman of the judicial branch of Congress, maintain and see that it's maintained that the federal judges have their independence," and John is gonna do that, and that's important. See in state courts, the judges there have to run for office, but our forefathers had enough vision to in the First Amendment, to indicate that the judges would be appointed for life and doing good tenure, and would be independent. We didn't--we don't have to run for office.$I think before we were gonna talk about [HistoryMaker] Lani Guinier some in this--so let's talk (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, well, well Lani is very special, and she has always been gifted. I remember when I was on the district court, and she was with me for two years as I was a federal district judge [on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan], and I had charged the jury. I said, "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, when you go back into the jury room I want you to select your foreman to be your spokesperson." So, when I got back into my chambers, Lani had left a note on my desk saying, "Judge Keith [HistoryMaker Damon J. Keith] why didn't you say you can select a foreperson? They may want to select a woman as their foreman." So, don't, don't--and I said, "Lani, that's so important. Thank you for correcting me." But, she was that type--in one of her books, she said, "Some judges would have resented this little young law school graduate telling them what to do," said, "but Keith, Judge Keith was very appreciative about the fact that I wanted, that I was correcting and suggesting to him that it may be not a man, but a woman." So, why don't you go select your--a foreperson, you know. That stuck with me all of my life, how you have to be careful of words and description because you can be thinking one thing and saying another. Now I didn't know I was directing that jury to select a man. It wasn't my intent, but the result was that. They thought, the jury probably thought that it was mandatory that they select a man as a foreman.

The Honorable Denise Page Hood

United States District Court Judge Denise Page Hood was born in Columbus, Ohio on February 21, 1952. After attending high school at the Columbus School for Girls, Hood earned her bachelor's degree from Yale College in 1974. She went on to graduate from the Columbia University School of Law in 1977.

In 1982, after working as an assistant corporation counsel for the City of Detroit Law Department for five years, Hood began her career behind the bench. As a judge, she served Detroit's 36th District Court, Recorder's Court and Wayne County Circuit Court. Her reputation in the legal community garnered her a nomination to the United States District Court from President Bill Clinton. On June 16, 1994, Hood was officially appointed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, becoming the first African American judge to join the Eastern District of Michigan bench in thirteen years. In this role, she has presided over both criminal and civil cases, including the Dow Corning bankruptcy/breast implant case involving the $3.1 billion Settlement Facility-Dow Corning Trust. She is also chair of the Pro Bono Committee of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan.

Over the course of her career, Hood has participated in numerous professional organizations. She has served as chair of the Michigan State Planning Body for legal services, the State Bar Pro Bono Initiatives Committee, and the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Foundation Board. She became the first African American female president of the Detroit Bar Association in 1993 and has also acted as the president of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan. In addition, she has contributed to numerous community organizations, and has served as a board member for the Lula Belle Stewart Center, the Cyprian Center and the Interim House; as vice chair of the Olivet College Board of Trustees and the Harper-Hutzel Hospital Board of Trustees; and chair of the InsideOut Literary Arts Project Board.

Hood’s honors include the Damon J. Keith Community Spirit Award; the Ebeneezer A.M.E. Church Woman of Distinction Award; the Columbus School for Girls' CSG Alumnae Award; the 2005 Michigan Anti-Defamation League’s Women of Achievement Award; the 2008 Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Award of Excellence; the Michigan Women’s Foundation’s 2008 Women of Achievement and Courage Award; the 2008 “Powerful Woman of Purpose” Award presented by the Rhonda Walker Foundation; the Olivet College 2009 Leadership in Individual & Social Responsibility Award; and the Fair Housing Center of Metro Detroit’s 2013 “Fair Housing Attorney Appreciation Award.”

Denise Page Hood was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 22, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.153

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/22/2002

Last Name

Hood

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Page

Organizations
Schools

Columbus School for Girls

Eastgate Elementary School

First Name

Denise

Birth City, State, Country

Columbus

HM ID

HOO01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Unto Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Interview Description
Birth Date

2/21/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Hot Dog

Short Description

Federal district court judge The Honorable Denise Page Hood (1952 - ) has served on the bench of Detroit’s 36th District Court, the Recorder’s Court and Wayne County Circuit Court. Hood was later appointed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, where she presides over both criminal and civil cases.

Employment

City of Detroit Law Department

Michigan's 36th District Court

United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:6826,155:19217,270:24538,342:28940,397:29437,406:33555,493:33839,498:34549,507:36608,578:36892,583:42501,712:49025,758:49325,763:49625,768:51725,800:52475,811:53150,823:55925,887:56675,901:64625,1105:65975,1134:68375,1196:74010,1207:77650,1297:87602,1442:93976,1522:95822,1553:96177,1559:96674,1568:100366,1655:106085,1779:111363,1954:112364,1967:113456,1984:119506,2056:125898,2190:126374,2202:128074,2237:128346,2242:137412,2343:138280,2359:138962,2372:145029,2468:146520,2492:146804,2497:148579,2535:156160,2609:156440,2614:158050,2642:158330,2647:160990,2716:163590,2742$0,0:3580,40:23310,193:37060,262:37460,268:40820,318:42180,343:46410,353:61262,488:63752,517:64416,527:65578,555:69645,627:73297,692:76888,701:86544,907:102271,1015:133550,1354:136695,1439:144008,1677:151510,1785
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70450">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Denise Page Hood's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70451">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Denise Page Hood lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70452">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Denise Page Hood describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70453">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Denise Page Hood describes the Hilltop neighborhood where her mother grew up in Columbus, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70454">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Denise Page Hood describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70455">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Denise Page Hood talks about her paternal grandmother's family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70456">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Denise Page Hood talks about her maternal grandfather</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70457">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Denise Page Hood describes her sister, Teri Lynn Page</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70458">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Denise Page Hood describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70459">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Denise Page Hood talks about her family life growing up in Columbus, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70460">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Denise Page Hood describes herself while attending Eastgate Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70461">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Denise Page Hood describes the sights, smells, and sounds of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70462">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Denise Page Hood talks about playing the piano during her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70463">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Denise Page Hood talks about attending Columbus School for Girls in Ohio from 1966 to 1970</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70464">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Denise Page Hood talks about her influential teachers and mentors at Columbus School for Girls</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70465">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Denise Page Hood talks about attending Yale University in 1970</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70466">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Denise Page Hood describes her experience attending Yale University from 1970 through 1974</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70467">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Denis Page Hood talks about her interests and influences at Yale University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70226">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Denise Page Hood talks about her decision to attend Columbia Law School in New York in 1974</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70227">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Denise Page Hood talks about her experience at Columbia Law School in New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70228">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Denise Page Hood talks about getting married to Reverend Nicholas Hood, Sr. and moving to Detroit, Michigan after graduation from Columbia Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70229">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Denise Page Hood talks about working for the City of Detroit, Michigan Law Department as Assistant Corporation Counsel from 1977 through 1982</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70230">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Denise Page Hood talks about her husband, Reverend Nicholas Hood, Sr.'s work as a United Church of Christ minister in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70231">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Denise Page Hood talks about leaving the City of Detroit's Corporation Counsel office to run for Wayne County Circuit Court</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70232">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Denise Page Hood talks about her experience campaigning for the Wayne County, Michigan Circuit Court and serving as a judge for the 36th District Court, State of…

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70233">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Denise Page Hood talks about her experience moving to the Recorder's Court, City of Detroit, Michigan from 1989 through 1992</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70234">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Denise Page Hood talks about becoming a judge on the Michigan Circuit Court, Wayne County, Michigan in 1993</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70235">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Denise Page Hood describes her selection as a Federal District Judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in 1994, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70236">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Denise Page Hood describes her selection as a Federal District Judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in 1994, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70237">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Denise Page Hood talks about her appointment as a Federal District Judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in 1994</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70238">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Denise Page Hood describes serving onthe United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan compared to the 36th District Court, State of Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70239">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Denise Page Hood talks about presiding over the Dow Corning Corporation Bankruptcy Proceedings in 1995</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70240">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Denise Page Hood reflects her career as a judge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70241">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Denise Page Hood talks about her role in judicial reform</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/70242">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Denise Page Hood talks about what she wants her legacy to be</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72423">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Denise Page Hood describes her role as a minister's wife</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72424">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Denise Page Hood talks about balancing her family with her career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72425">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Denise Page Hood talks about her involvement with the National Organization of Women and the women's movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72426">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Denise Page Hood describes her hopes and concerns for the black community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72427">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Denise Page Hood reflects on her grandfather, the Reverend Thomas Page</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72428">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Denise Page Hood reflects on the importance of documenting the history of the black community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72429">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Denise Page Hood narrates her photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72430">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Denise Page Hood narrates her photographs, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/72431">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Denise Page Hood narrates her photographs, pt. 3</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

5$9

DATitle
Denise Page Hood talks about attending Yale University in 1970
Denise Page Hood talks about what she wants her legacy to be
Transcript
Now, when you--how did Yale [University, Connecticut] come into the picture?$$I think my father really wanted me to go to another girls school--another--a girls college. And I was like, "I won't be able to do that." And, I probably would have, in the long run, except that Yale [University, Connecticut] began admitting women, I guess, the year before I--they were going to admit women the year before I came there [1969]. And a recruiter came to our school, and this recruiter told us, in this meeting, that if you couldn't afford to come to Yale [University, Connecticut], that would not be a stumbling block, that they would figure out a way if you were admitted to--for you to get enough scholarships and money to attend. And I was--back then, I was much more challenging and probably not as diplomatic about being challenging as I am now. And I was like, "yeah right." And he said, "No, no really." And I was like, "Are you telling me that if I'm admitted, my parents can't afford to pay, that you all will see that I have the resources to come?" And he said, "Yes." And it was clear that I just, frankly didn't believe that. And, so, the next year when he came back, when I was a senior, he asked the head master--he said, "You know the young lady that was here last year that was asking me those questions, is she coming to our session?" And I think my head master who, you know, they want their good students to go to good colleges, said, "She'll be at your session whether she likes it or not." And I think he was interested that I might still be interested in coming there. And I thought, "Well, my father wants me to go to a girls school"; which back then meant, you know, Smith [College, Massachusetts], Mount Holyoke [College, Massachusetts], you know, Wellesley [College, Massachusetts]. And if I could go to Yale [University, Connecticut], that would be good enough, you know. And so, I went home and told my dad and he was actually not that thrilled at first, but he kind of came around. And so, I was given the opportunity through really the largess of somebody at the school, an alumni, who I still do not know who it was, to go out and visit the college, which was a really good experience. I mean, I just like set foot, and I was like, "This is got to be the greatest place on earth", right. Maybe it was just my limited knowledge of colleges, you know, Ohio State [University], Ohio University. I hadn't really--I didn't really have a broad horizon at that time, but, I met a wonderful group of African Americans students, and I stayed with one of the students from my high school who'd gone there the year before me. And so I had an overall wonderful experience. So that's kind of how that happened.$Now, are--do you have, (unclear) do you have an idea if what you're legacy of being a judge--what you want--you're still early, but you've been--do you have an idea how you want to be viewed?$$Well, I'd like to be viewed in history as somebody that was fair. I would like to be viewed as someone who continually gave back to the community at large. I think everybody would like to have something that they did that either motivated others or made some big difference in the way that we practice law, or we go about doing our work, and that's a very big task. I think we see some people who, in fact, do that. You mentioned Judge [HM Damon] Keith, and for sure Judge Keith has impacted at least, I think, the whole nation. But, very particularly in Michigan, and among African American lawyers, how they look at themselves and their work, and his commitment, not only to doing his work, but doing other things besides his work. And I think we would all like to see ourselves in that mold. And so, basically I think I would want to be able to have the opportunity, if it rises, to do something that would make that kind of impact. Whether or not you are able to do that is sometimes an issue of if you are at a particular point where something happens that allows you to do that. I don't know if that'll come or not, sometimes you don't know that your cases do that or not. And to the extent that you may not be able to do that, I think you have to, just each day, let everyone who comes into your courtroom know that their case--you know that their case is the most important thing to them. And even if it isn't the most important case in the scheme of the important cases, that you give it just as much attention as you would a case that might be big in the scheme of cases.

The Honorable George N. Leighton

Judge George Leighton was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts on October 22, 1912. His parents, Anna Silva Garcia and Antonio Neves Leitao, were from Cape Verde. Because of his family's need for money, Leighton was unable to attend high school. However, he spent his free time reading and won a $200 scholarship to college in an essay contest. Leighton gained conditional admittance to Howard University in 1936 and graduated magna cum laude four years later, going on to study at Harvard Law School.

Drafted into military service in 1940, Leighton became a Captain of Infantry before being relieved of active duty in 1945. He returned to his Harvard education, earned an L.L.B. in 1946, and passed the Illinois bar exam the following year. Leighton served as a member and chairman of the Legal Redress Committee of the Chicago NAACP. Between 1947 and 1952, Leighton also served as president of the Third Ward Regular Democratic Organization. Appointed Assistant Attorney General of Illinois in 1949, Leighton served two years in this post. In 1951, he co-founded one of the largest predominately African American law firms in the country and the next year, he served as Chicago Branch NAACP president. Leighton was elected a Cook County Circuit Court judge in 1964 and began teaching at the John Marshall Law School the next year. In 1969, Leighton was assigned to sit as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Illinois' First District. After six years, President Gerald Ford nominated Leighton to serve as a U.S. District Court judge. He was confirmed February 2, 1976 and began serving office one month later.

Leighton retired from the U.S. District Court at the age of 75 but began serving of counsel to Earl L. Neal & Associates. Leighton has played a leadership role in governmental groups, serving as chairman of the Character and Fitness Committee for the First Appellate District of Illinois and chairman of the Illinois Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Leighton has also participated in civic groups, serving on the board of directors of the United Church of Christ and Grant Hospital. He and his late wife, Virginia Berry Quivers, have two adult daughters: Virginia Anne and Barbara Elaine.

Leighton passed away on June 6, 2018.

Accession Number

A2002.042

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/30/2002

Last Name

Leighton

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

N.

Organizations
Schools

Harvard University

Howard University

First Name

George

Birth City, State, Country

New Bedford

HM ID

LEI01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Praise The Lord.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/22/1912

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Plymouth

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Filet Mignon

Death Date

6/6/2018

Short Description

Federal district court judge The Honorable George N. Leighton (1912 - 2018 ) served as a Federal judge for over twenty years. Leighton is a leader in government groups such as the Character and Fitness Committee for the First Appellate District of Illinois and the Illinois Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Employment

Circuit Court of Cook County

John Marshall Law School

First District Illinois Court of Appeals

United States District Court

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1488,49:6429,115:7239,126:8616,150:20233,293:27109,382:33570,444:47632,585:52541,667:62614,782:62930,787:65774,840:73432,927:78334,1022:97135,1258:108574,1388:112690,1399$0,0:5115,30:16591,139:17026,145:18853,188:33577,400:72440,776:77128,851:77736,861:82710,885:85221,906:85965,915:86337,920:86895,930:116160,1309:118918,1343:120086,1362:121108,1377:121546,1384:121838,1389:125996,1436:126472,1445:141290,1664:142190,1675:148194,1705:149988,1731:150540,1741:152832,1768:153056,1773:158295,1818:158820,1826:161720,1833:162203,1847:162617,1854:178247,2079:186705,2215:187005,2220:194059,2298:199115,2333:213980,2494:223965,2612:230125,2674:236780,2735:238300,2765:238832,2775:243870,2829:244752,2869:247044,2874:247860,2907:248676,2939:257075,3034:257600,3042:258125,3051:262920,3082
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/62128">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of George Leighton's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/62129">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - George Leighton lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/62130">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - George Leighton discusses his maternal family's Cape Verdean background, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/62131">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - George Leighton discusses his maternal family's Cape Verdean background, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/62132">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - George Leighton describes his parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/62133">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - George Leighton describes his paternal family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/62134">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - George Leighton explains his father's influence on his educational aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/62135">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - George Leighton describes the Cape Verdean culture, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/62136">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - George Leighton talks about his parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/62137">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - George Leighton talks about his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/62138">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - George Leighton explains the migration of Cape Verdeans to New Bedford, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/62139">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - George Leighton describes the Cape Verdean culture, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49217">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - George Leighton explains issues race of and ethnicity in Cape Verdean culture</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49218">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - George Leighton shares memories of his childhood family life in New Bedford, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49219">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - George Leighton describes the sights, smells and sounds of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49220">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - George Leighton describes being admitted to Howard University without a high school degree</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49221">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - George Leighton describes his childhood ambitions to be a lawyer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49222">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - George Leighton describes leaving school at age 16 to work on an oil tanker</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49223">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - George Leighton describes wanting to attend Howard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49224">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - George Leighton reflects on his experiences at Howard University, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49225">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - George Leighton recalls learning about African American history and culture at Howard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49226">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - George Leighton describes being admitted to Harvard Law School.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49227">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - George Leighton reflects on his admission to Harvard Law School, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49228">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - George Leighton reflects on his admission to Harvard Law School, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49229">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - George Leighton describes his family's response to his acceptance to Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49230">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - George Leighton reflects on leaving Harvard Law School for active duty during World War II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49231">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - George Leighton describes his marriage and his return to the United States to finish his studies at Harvard Law School, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49232">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - George Leighton describes his marriage and his return to the United States to finish his studies at Harvard Law School, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49233">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - George Leighton describes his marriage and his return to the United States to finish his studies at Harvard Law School,pt.3</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49234">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - George Leighton describes his marriage and his return to the United States to finish his studies at Harvard Law School, pt.4</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49235">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - George Leighton talks about other African Americans in his class at Harvard Law School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49236">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - George Leighton explains his decision to move to Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49237">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - George Leighton describes his wife and her family background in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49238">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - George Leighton describes his early experiences in Chicago looking for work as a lawyer, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49239">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - George Leighton describes his early experiences in Chicago looking for work as a lawyer, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49240">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - George Leighton describes life for African Americans in Chicago in the 1940s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49241">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - George Leighton describes his connection to prominent national and Chicago-based African American lawyers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49242">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - George Leighton reflects on his experiences as a young African American lawyer in Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49243">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - George Leighton discusses cases he argued before the United States Supreme Court, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49244">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - George Leighton discusses cases he argued before the United States Supreme Court, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49480">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - George Leighton discusses a case he argued before the United States Supreme Court</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49481">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - George Leighton discusses his involvement in housing discrimination cases in Chicago, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49482">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - George Leighton provides some background on the Harvey Clark housing discrimination case.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49483">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - George Leighton discusses the aftermath of the Harvey Clark housing discrimination case, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49484">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - George Leighton discusses the aftermath of the Harvey Clark housing discrimination case and experiences of African Americans in Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49485">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - George Leighton discusses the role of the NAACP lawyers during the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49486">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - George Leighton reflects on changes among African American lawyers through the years</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49487">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - George Leighton reflects on lessons learned early in his career as a criminal defense attorney</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49488">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - George Leighton discusses the role of politics in his legal career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49489">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - George Leighton shares a story about James B. Parsons, the first African American United States District Judge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49490">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - George Leighton explains how he became a circuit court judge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49491">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - George Leighton shares the his career path after becoming a judge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49492">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - George Leighton discusses his involvement with a case brought against President J. Edgar Hoover, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49493">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - George Leighton discusses his involvement with a case brought against President J. Edgar Hoover, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49494">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - George Leighton discusses his involvement with a case brought against President J. Edgar Hoover, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49495">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - George Leighton talks about the connection between Sam Giancana and John F. Kennedy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49496">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - George Leighton shares his thoughts about notorious mob boss, Sam Giancana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49497">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - George Leighton describes being a United States Federal District Court judge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/50275">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - George Leighton talks about an increase in women becoming federal judges</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/50276">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - George Leighton describes his experiences as a federal judge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/50277">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - George Leighton shares disappointment about serving as a judge</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/50278">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - George Leighton shares why he was an effective lawyer.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/50279">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - George Leighton talks about his role as a defense attorney in the case of Robert Lee Goldsby in Mississippi, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/50280">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - George Leighton talks about his role as a defense attorney in the case of Robert Lee Goldsby in Mississippi, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/50281">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - George Leighton talks about his role as a defense attorney in the case of Robert Lee Goldsby in Mississippi, pt.3</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/50282">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - George Leighton shares memorable cases over which he presided</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49506">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - George Leighton discusses presiding over the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional (FALN) federal case, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49507">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - George Leighton discusses presiding over the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional (FALN) federal case, pt.2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49508">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - George Leighton discusses the issue of the media in the courtroom</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49509">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - George Leighton shares his thoughts about the O.J. Simpson case</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49510">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - George Leighton shares his thoughts Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pt.1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49511">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - George Leighton shares his thoughts about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49512">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - George Leighton tlkas about the future of DNA testing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49513">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - George Leighton reflects on his acquittal of a case of alleged assault of Chicago police officer against Jesse Rodriguez and Simon Suarez</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49514">Tape: 8 Story: 9 - George Leighton reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/49515">Tape: 8 Story: 10 - George Leighton talks about his parents</a>

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DATitle
George Leighton describes his childhood ambitions to be a lawyer
George Leighton discusses his involvement with a case brought against President J. Edgar Hoover, pt.2
Transcript
Sir, I wanna take you back a little bit, just in that early period, and I want, just a little bit more. I want to understand what you were like as a young person? You know, what were--were you a quiet person? Were you, I mean what kind of person--(simultaneous)--$$That's about what it was because, you see, I had very little contact with other people. When I met Melvin Felter just before I went to Washington, D.C., he was about the only person I spoke with about my ambition to become educated. See, from somewhere, and I couldn't tell you where this came from, I got the idea that I wanted to be a lawyer (laughter). At that time, I didn't know, no one had told me at that time, that my paternal grandfather was law trained in Lisbon. No one had told me that. But I got this idea of being a lawyer. In fact, I have told people that at the time I got this idea of being a lawyer, I didn't tell anybody. Why? If I said that to my mother and my father, they would have sworn that I had suffered some kind of a stroke (laughter), you know. They would have taken me to a hospital for mental examinations. That's how bizarre it was. I had never met a lawyer, had never spoken to one, didn't know what lawyers did (laughter). Yet I had this idea that I wanted to be a lawyer. And so I left New Bedford in August, 1936, armed with this letter from F. D. Wilkinson and went to Washington.$When I had the film showed to Judge Austin, showing how they followed Sam Giancana, had his home photographed twenty-four hours a day, one thing that I had to prove was that the agents in that photograph or the men in the photograph were FBI agents. So I thought of the bright idea of calling Marvin Johnson--Marlin Johnson, who was the agent in charge in Chicago. So I called him. All right, Mr. Johnson, take the stand, said Judge Austin. So I asked him, Mr. Johnson, were you in the courtroom when I showed Judge Austin Plaintiff's Exhibit, whatever it was, twenty-five, thirty? Yes, I was. I asked him, did you notice the film? Yes, I did. Did you see who was being shown in that film? Yes, I did. Did you recognize any agents of the United States government in that film? He said, I refuse to answer. So Judge Austin says, why do you refuse to answer? He said, well, your Honor, I have a telegram from Robert F. Kennedy, Attorney General of the United States, telling me not to reveal the contents of any FBI files to anyone. So Judge Austin said, well, look, Mr. Leighton didn't ask you about any FBI files. He only asked you did you recognize who was on the film. I refuse to answer, he says to Judge Austin. Judge Austin said, wait a minute--he says, wait a minute. He said, I'm not judge, I'm not Mr. Leighton. I'm Judge Austin. I'm telling you to answer that question. He refused. Judge Austin said, all right, I find you in criminal contempt of court, and I fine you 500 dollars to be paid before you leave this courtroom. Well, now, mind you, I walked in the courtroom with Sam Giancana, the world's greatest criminal. I get an injunction against the FBI, and then the Chief of the FBI is found guilty of criminal contempt. That's what happened. Now, when I was nominated to be a federal judge, agents of the United States FBI came to my office to interview me. You know, they have to check my background. And they asked me about this Giancana case. I said, gentlemen, before I answer your question--they wanted me to tell them how did I happen to be the lawyer? See, they thought I was a mob lawyer. That's what they thought, see. So I told 'em, I said, before I answer your question, I wanna ask you to please write in your report this, "I want you to tell your superiors that if ever a biography is written of me, of my career as a lawyer, I want it to be written that the grandest moment of my life as a lawyer is when I stood in that courtroom, representing a man that you, gentlemen, and your superiors say is the world's greatest criminal, but when I left that courtroom, he had an injunction against the FBI, and he had a finding of guilty against the special agent in charge." So they all wrote it down. Then they went back, investigated what I had told them and found out that it was true, just like I had said, that Judge Cavelli had called me, and that it wasn't a mob connection that I had. And they reported favorably on my nomination. You see, I never would have been a federal judge if that hadn't happened, you know.