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Walter L. Gordon, Jr.

Civil rights attorney and photo collector Walter Gordon, Jr. was born on June 22, 1908, in the Ocean Park neighborhood in Santa Monica, California. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, Gordon’s parents were well educated and served as community leaders. His father was a mail carrier in South Pasadena and worked for African American owned newspapers and publications including: "The Messenger," "The Negro World," "The Chicago Defender" and "The Crisis." As a youth, Gordon also helped to keep the African American community informed by delivering newspapers to homes and barbershops. He soon became a familiar face in Los Angeles and was recognized by many of its elite crowd.

Gordon attended University of Southern California (USC) Preparatory School where he graduated and went on to enroll at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. After graduating with his degree, he earned his J.D. degree. In 1936, at a time when the Los Angeles legal system was plagued with segregation, Gordon became one of the city’s first attorneys when he established his law practice in the same facility as one of Los Angeles’s oldest African American publications, "The California Eagle." As a neighbor of the publication, he also began collecting photographs given to him by the newspaper’s editor. During the next few decades, his legal practice became a prominent and vital institution in Los Angeles’s downtown and Central Avenue District. He represented a wide assortment of public servants, athletes and entertainers.

In the mid-1940s, when the Los Angeles Police Department began targeting African American night club owners for operating during late night hours without a special permit, Gordon successfully persuaded the court to allow various African American night club owners a special permit to operate. Then, in 1947, he successfully represented a former Hollywood cameraman and owner of Shepp’s Playground, Gordon Sheppard, in an entrapment case. Gordon also represented legendary jazz vocalist, Billie Holliday, in a case in which she allegedly slashed a heckler with a knife after he interrupted her performance of “Strange Fruit.”

Gordon has kept a special collection of memorable African American photographs throughout his career. His collection includes valuable photographs of the Langston Law Club, composer Count Basie, musician Louis Armstrong and the black resort Val Verde. In 2003, he was awarded the Shattuck-Price Outstanding Lawyer Award from the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and in 2004, he retired after more than sixty years of practicing law. Gordon's photo collection is housed and made available for scholarly and public access through the Edward L. Doheny, Jr. Memorial Library's Digital Collection, at the University of Southern California.

Walter Gordon passed away on April 16, 2012 at the age of 103.

Walter L. Gordon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 3, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.071

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/3/2008

Last Name

Gordon

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

L.

Occupation
Schools

University of Southern California

The Ohio State University

Huntington Drive Elementary School

First Name

Walter

Birth City, State, Country

Ocean Park (Santa Monica)

HM ID

GOR02

Favorite Season

June, July

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Racetrack

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/22/1908

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Liver, Onions, Steak, Ice Cream

Death Date

4/16/2012

Short Description

Civil rights lawyer Walter L. Gordon, Jr. (1908 - 2012 ) practiced law for over sixty years in Los Angeles, where he represented a wide assortment of public servants, athletes and entertainers, including Billie Holliday. He also has an extensive photo collection of notable African Americans including Count Basie and Louis Armstrong.

Employment

Los Angeles City Attorney's Office

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:21860,265:45008,568:98660,1036:99100,1041:99980,1133:136389,1466:146905,1694:147430,1700:154598,1765:162470,1943:170914,2021:171306,2026:176794,2109:219460,2467$0,0:22156,168:58680,545:87280,747:98930,825:101210,852:101780,858:102806,866:118330,1007:131563,1104:133381,1135:134189,1144:136180,1149:150959,1309:154062,1344:154704,1351:164910,1444:165694,1452:174434,1519:174850,1524:178178,1570:190290,1693:190746,1698:194740,1718:195950,1730:196555,1736:208245,1858:222083,1958:223292,1992:231356,2011:235724,2050:247059,2148:247431,2153:247803,2158:254499,2279:254964,2285:259056,2341:288700,2740
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Walter L. Gordon, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes his father's career, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes his father's career, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls his elementary school principal, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls his elementary school principal, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls his elementary school principal, pt. 3

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes his mother's social activism

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls graduating from Rose Hill Elementary School in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes the Rose Hill Park community in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes his upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. remembers his childhood friend

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls his interest in athletics

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes his high school education

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. remembers being hired at a bowling alley

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. remembers finding buried money

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls the racial discrimination in California

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. remembers Thomas W. Myles, Jr., pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. remembers Thomas W. Myles, Jr., pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls the University of Southern California Preparatory School in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. remembers Madeline Johnson, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. remembers Madeleine Johnson, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls experiencing racial discrimination at the YMCA

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Walter L. Gordon, Jr. remembers his decision to return to California

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$2

DAStory

9$2

DATitle
Walter L. Gordon, Jr. recalls experiencing racial discrimination at the YMCA
Walter L. Gordon, Jr. describes his mother's social activism
Transcript
So, now I'm like a rooster then walking around in Boston [Massachusetts]. I want to see everything, and the main street in Boston was--for transit trade, was Tremont [Street]. And it was raining weather and on the streetcars as you, you see, the, the guys coming from work hanging on the, the, the--that was wartime. That's--because I'm thinking about how the guys were hanging on the outside on these cars going down Tremont Street or Massachusetts Avenue, could be Massachusetts Avenue. But, they had--there was a women's clubhouse on Massachusetts Avenue that, that everybody, all the women, school women, visited on Sunday. They had meetings just like the forum [Los Angeles Forum] here. So, the number--they didn't call it by the street number, they said, "556," and they wouldn't say women's clubhouse, say, "We're going to 556." So, I got a job, but I must tell you first that--yeah, after going down there, I ran into a lot of guys (unclear) boys and then we got in a debate and they all knew I was from California. And then they asked me where I was stopping. I told them YMCA [Young Men's Christian Association]. They bucked their eyes at me and as if to say, he's lying. He--he's lying. And they said--they ended up saying, "Can you take us over there? We, we, we want to see your room."$$Because they didn't believe you?$$No. So, I, not knowing what it was all about said, "Sure." So, we all went over to the YMCA. I went to the room and after the, the boys had left, they all expressed amazement, the man told me, "I'm sorry, Mr. Gordon [HistoryMaker Walter L. Gordon, Jr.], we did not know you were black and you have to leave." We have to--and they, they got in touch with a young woman whose husband was a doctor. He went to Tufts University [Tufts College; Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts]. And, do you know anything about Boston?$$Yes, sir, I do.$$He went to Tufts. His name was Malcolm Proctor, Proctor [ph.]. By the way that's the first time I have been able to remember that number. I--when you get a certain scene--but I've never been able to remember his number. So, Proctor called his home and he told me--he offered me--they offered me to stop at a doctor's home, Dr. T.E.A. McCurley [ph.]. He's West Indian and he, he let me have a room in his house and I got a job, and doctor--and then Dr. McCurley--oh, my mother [Vertner Lewis Gordon] got in touch with Dr. McCurley. They became great friends for years.$My mother [Vertner Lewis Gordon]--I was telling you about how very, very dedicated she was to young people. She had been pushed and aided and studied and more or less respected in New Orleans [Louisiana]. And she was not a star in looks but she was a beautiful woman, but you could see she wasn't aiming to impress people with looks. She was plain, plain without being decorated. And so my mother--the various students who looked and showed promise here in Los Angeles [California], she would learn who they were. They knew who she was and they would all come to her. Everyone needed aid then. People didn't have money. And, to give you an example, just a single example was that in the matter of acquiring a home, blacks could only own a home on or near one block of Central Avenue. I might have made an error here slightly, but by that, you could only go over about to San Pedro Street in Los Angeles from Central Avenue. Central Avenue was the key. Now you got--if you moved and bought a home more than two or three blocks west of Central Avenue, you could--not allowed to live in it. You could buy the home and the big decision that blacks began to applaud was the fact where at least we can buy that property. Previously, they were enforcing where you couldn't even buy. So, that was a big decision. And then--so, San Pedro Street north and now it would be one block, two or three blocks from Central Avenue west. And then Alameda Street was one or two, three blocks east. So, you were limited to that territory and the people were squeezing in to that small county and those small streets and the houses became tumbling down and unrepairable, and some of them had to be torn down, and that made this a very tight territory where you couldn't get a good looking home. Now, as the people crowded in the town and would have to be forced into this cubbyhole, sentiment passed along in conversation and blacks became very disturbed by the situation. So, what happened was that organizations started, started being inaugurated and initiated and the youngsters would learn about your, your mother, my mother, and the older adults that were concerned so I'd come in my dad's [Walter L. Gordon, Sr.] office on Central Avenue real estate, small office, not one of these great big pretentious offices, but we had--his desk was shiny and varnished and the property was kept up. And my dad had this innate ability to make a place look like something. And I would come there at noontime to maybe have an early class and get out early--$$Well, what year (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) and it would be--$$What year, Mr. Gordon [HistoryMaker Walter L. Gordon, Jr.], would this have been?$$This would be about 1928, '29 [1929].

Gary Gayton

Civil rights attorney Gary David Gayton was born on February 25, 1933 in Seattle, Washington to Virginia Clark and John Jacob Gayton, the fourth of eight children. When Gayton was five years old, his family moved to the all-white neighborhood of Madrona, and although they dealt with regular harassment, refused to leave. Gayton earned his diploma from Garfield High School in 1951 and attended the University of Washington where he was a four year varsity track man and became captain of the team.

In 1955, Gayton graduated with his B.A. degree in political science at the University of Washington. After serving honorably for two years in the United States Army, Gayton was admitted to Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. He earned his L.L.B. degree in 1962, and was immediately appointed by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to the post of Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, the first African American to hold this position. Under the supervision of Assistant United States Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Gayton sued the State of Washington to allow Native Americans to sell fish caught on the reservations off the reservations.

Gayton left his position in the U.S. Attorney’s Office under Brock Adams in 1965, and, along with three associates, formed the law firm of Stern, Gayton, Neubauer & Brucker, whose clients included anti-war activists and Black Panthers. In 1966, Gayton was one of five delegates invited from the State of Washington to attend “To Fulfill These Rights,” President Johnson’s first Civil Rights Conference. Gayton continued working as an attorney, filing a successful suit on behalf of female tennis player, Trish Bostrom, demanding a women’s tennis program and the right to try out for the men’s team until such a program existed. This suit anticipated 1972’s Title IX, which prohibited sex discrimination against students and employees of educational institutions.

Gayton assisted in the organization of the black caucus at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968, where Channing Phillips was nominated as the first black Presidential contender. In 1969, Gayton represented several black football players who had been suspended for failing to take a loyalty oath for their coach, Jim Owens, at the University of Washington. Gayton was invited to become a part of Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox’s staff in 1973, but he declined for personal reasons. Gayton also served as an arbiter for the City of Seattle during the construction of Interstate 90.

Gayton became the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Brock Adams’ Special Assistant in 1977, in which he developed an affirmative action program for the U.S. Department of Transportation which was asked to be adopted by all departments by President Jimmy Carter in his 1978 domestic policy speech. In 1980, Gayton returned to Seattle as of counsel for the law firm, Diamond & Sylvester. In 1985, Gayton became an investment banker, working as Senior Vice President for Siebert, Brandford, Shank & Company, the largest minority and female bond-underwriting firm in the nation. Gayton continues in the private practice of law. He recently served as chairman of the senior advisory board of the ninth federal judicial circuit. Gayton has served on the boards of more than sixty cultural and professional organizations. He recently was named to the Hall of Fame of Garfield High School. In 2006, the Seattle Metropolitan magazine named Gayton one of the 277 people who shaped Seattle since its founding. In 2005, Gayton received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Washington in political science.

Gayton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 26, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.307

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/26/2007 |and| 6/6/2008

Last Name

Gayton

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

James A. Garfield High School

Meany Middle School

Madrona K-8 School

University of Washington

Washington University School of Law

Gonzaga University School of Law

First Name

Gary

Birth City, State, Country

Seattle

HM ID

GAY03

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Washington

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

What a difference a day makes.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Washington

Birth Date

2/25/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Seattle

Country

United States

Short Description

Civil rights lawyer Gary Gayton (1933 - ) represented Black Panther Party members and other civil rights cases in Seattle, Washington. He also served as a high ranking official in the U.S. Department of Transportation under President Jimmy Carter.

Employment

U.S. Attorney's Office

Stern Gayton Neubauer & Brucker

U.S. Department of Transportation

Urban Mass Transportation Administration

Smothers Douple Gayton & Long

Diamond & Sylvester

Grigsby Brandford & Co.

Cusack Knowles Ferguson

Siebert Brandford Shank

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:2852,51:5796,152:8832,215:11592,248:12328,283:18124,387:25484,533:25852,538:33254,562:38414,827:48390,954:69170,1259:76784,1352:98724,1526:101028,1565:101412,1570:103812,1640:105732,1674:107076,1698:117468,1834:123036,1897:125340,1970:136956,2283:145882,2340:159479,2539:159864,2546:163714,2644:165639,2675:166794,2700:167179,2706:167564,2712:170790,2744$0,0:13736,201:14241,207:19886,245:27720,325:33480,451:34040,459:34600,469:35000,475:35560,484:35880,489:37640,527:38520,545:41240,598:41960,608:45480,662:46200,679:46760,687:47960,700:54252,708:55308,720:55692,725:56076,730:57900,750:59052,765:60204,780:63276,817:67980,884:69228,922:70284,935:70860,942:71916,955:73068,973:75756,1007:76236,1016:84030,1092:84638,1101:84942,1106:85246,1111:85702,1119:90718,1212:91402,1222:92390,1238:94974,1289:95658,1299:98318,1348:102422,1384:102954,1392:103942,1434:110436,1465:110752,1470:111779,1486:114386,1539:114860,1547:115176,1552:115650,1558:116677,1574:117230,1582:118731,1606:121022,1636:130380,1740:133715,1759:134520,1768:135555,1779:144156,1823:144758,1831:145618,1844:147682,1865:148456,1875:149488,1890:149832,1895:152154,1922:153874,1950:161810,2039:164640,2071:166836,2118:167263,2126:175660,2174:183840,2289:187760,2365:188740,2377:189440,2390:189860,2398:190140,2403:190910,2417:192030,2436:196808,2474:208263,2710:222772,2855:223353,2863:223934,2872:225843,2912:229163,2961:231487,3017:234060,3071:234807,3083:235637,3094:236135,3102:238210,3137:238957,3148:239787,3159:240202,3166:245550,3180
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Gary Gayton describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Gary Gayton reflects upon his life, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gary Gayton reflects upon his legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Gary Gayton talks about his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Gary Gayton describes his community involvement

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Gary Gayton narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Gary Gayton narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Slating of Gary Gayton's interview, session 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Gary Gayton lists his favorites

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Gary Gayton describes his mother's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Gary Gayton describes his father's family background

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Gary Gayton describes his paternal grandfather, J.T. Gayton

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Gary Gayton describes his father's musical talent

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Gary Gayton describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Gary Gayton remembers moving to the Madrona neighborhood in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Gary Gayton remembers his first work experience

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Gary Gayton talks about his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Gary Gayton recalls his decision to attend the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Gary Gayton remembers trying out for the track team at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Gary Gayton remembers his athletic activities at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Gary Gayton describes his studies at the University of Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Gary Gayton describes his experiences at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Gary Gayton recalls his decision to attend the Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Gary Gayton remembers his U.S. Army Service

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Gary Gayton talks about race relations in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Gary Gayton remembers founding the Loren Miller Bar Association

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Gary Gayton recalls his hiring as an assistant U.S. attorney

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Gary Gayton remembers his colleagues in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Gary Gayton recalls his first cases at the U.S. attorney's office

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Gary Gayton remembers the push to hire African American assistant U.S. attorneys

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Gary Gayton recalls his time as an assistant U.S. attorney

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Gary Gayton recalls representing black football players from the University of Washington, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Gary Gayton recalls representing black football players from the University of Washington, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Gary Gayton remembers defending a Black Student Union protestor

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Gary Gayton remembers representing the Black Panthers

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Gary Gayton remembers representing a white supremacist organization

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Gary Gayton remembers representing Trish Bostrom

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Gary Gayton remembers his involvement with the Seattle SuperSonics

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Gary Gayton remembers joining the U.S. Department of Transportation

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Gary Gayton describes his duties in the U.S. Department of Transportation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Gary Gayton remembers his decision to leave the U.S. Department of Transportation

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Gary Gayton reflects upon President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.'s administration

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Gary Gayton remembers his resignation from the U.S. Department of Transportation

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Gary Gayton talks about the role of political loyalty

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Gary Gayton remembers becoming a legal consultant in the public finance sector, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Gary Gayton remembers becoming a legal consultant in the public finance sector, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Gary Gayton recalls the investment firm of Siebert Brandford Shank and Company, LLC

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Gary Gayton reflects upon his career

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Gary Gayton reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Gary Gayton describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Gary Gayton talks about the importance of work life balance

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Gary Gayton describes his friends and family

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Gary Gayton talks about the Institute for Black American Music

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Gary Gayton reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Gary Gayton recalls his mentorship of Judge Richard A. Jones

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Gary Gayton describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Gary Gayton narrates his photographs, pt. 3

DASession

2$2

DATape

5$3

DAStory

9$1

DATitle
Gary Gayton remembers representing a white supremacist organization
Gary Gayton describes his paternal grandfather, J.T. Gayton
Transcript
But they knew that I had--I mean, you know, at one time I had--I don't know if it was Aaron [HistoryMaker Aaron Dixon] or Elmer [Elmer Dixon III] in my office on something, and I had the head of the Minutemen in my office. See, the, the marshal's office [U.S. Marshals Service] was still referring cases to me. And the head Minuteman was in here--$$Now, the Minutemen, for the sake of history, tell us who they were (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) The Minutemen, they were very conservative. They were, you know, right of the Ku Klux Klan [KKK]. These were people who had, you know, they hated their mothers, Catholics, blacks, everybody (laughter).$$(Laughter) The government.$$The government, you know. They were stashing (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) The activists, everybody.$$--they were stashing weapons and all that.$$So were they a militia.$$Militia type, yeah.$$Okay, all right.$$And they were out of--primarily out of east Washington, which is the conservative portion of this state. And so anyway, they, they asked the marshal's office, one of the guys, who should we get to represent us. And he said, "Well, I'd get [HistoryMaker] Gary Gayton, one of the marshals." And so they came in. And I charged 'em double what I normally would charge everyone else 'cause I didn't really wanna represent 'em. And anyway, we went to, to court and they were found guilty. And so in their paper, in east Washington, came out, "Nigger Attorney Turns Against" (laughter). But what was so funny, prior to that was that it was either Elmer or Eleano- or some other, one of the Black Panthers [Black Panther Party] sitting in the office, saw the guy. And, and he came in the office. He said, "Hey, Gayton, you know that guy's the head of the Minutemen. How do, how come you, how can you represent him?" I said, "He pays better than you guys" (laughter).$$(Laughter).$$But those were exciting and fun times really (laughter), you know.$$It seems like that, that could only happen in Washington for some reason. I don't know. I've been around the country and I'd be hard pressed to figure out another place where something like that could happen.$$(Laughter).$$You have the Minutemen sitting in an office of a black attorney (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) (Laughter) Black man (laughter). But that was something when I saw that headline, "Nigger Attorney Turns Against." And, and what was so funny, one of the women on the jury came to me and said, "Mr. Gayton, you seem like such a nice young man. How can you represent such a terrible person?" Yeah, (laughter) and I said, "Ma'am, we- that's what we're supposed to. We're supposed to represent 'em, the best of our ability. We don't agree with what they're doing, but--."$Okay, we're talking about your [paternal] grandfather, J.T. Gayton [John T. Gayton].$$Yeah, he, he started work--some time, I figure before the 1900s, for the Rainier Club [Seattle, Washington] as the chief steward. And I didn't realize--I'm a member of the Rainier Club, and I didn't realize that it was such a responsible position. I found out later, after talking to the historian of the club, and I later, when asked, served on the board of the Rainier Club so I could find out more about my grandfather. I just thought chief steward was like head waiter or something, but chief steward was managing, like the operating officer of the club. And what the historian of the Rainier Club told me that my grandfather made more money than about 60 percent of the members of the club at the time. And I didn't--the reason I was interested in finding out more about it is that Eddie Carlson [Edward Carlson], who was the president of United Airlines and also president of Western International Hotels, had been the chief steward there. That's where he started. And I said, well, gee, that position must have been an important position. That's when I checked with the historian, and I found out it was a very important position in the club. And my grandfather had great stature in the community because of that, especially in the, in the black community. And he was asked by the federal judge [Cornelius Holgate Hanford] who had just been appointed in 1904 to come with him to the federal courthouse and said, "Well, you're not gonna make as much money working for the federal government. But you'll have pension and you've gotta watch out for your family." So my father--grandfather went and went to work for him and stayed in that position from 1904 until he retired in about 1952. And he is mentioned in all the history books of the federal court in the Northwest because he not only became the bailiff for the first federal judge, but he became the librarian for the Ninth Circuit [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit] that would--judges who would be here in town, the Ninth Circuit library at the federal courthouse.$$I heard he had a phenomenal memory from--$$Pardon?$$He had a phenomenal, phenomenal memory for cases. That's what I heard.$$Yes, he had a phenomenal memory for cases, and that's one reason, I mean he was so appreciated by so many of the lawyers, and made it much easier for me when I became a, a lawyer. The only thing, we would--my father [John J. Gayton] and grandfather talked about all the time was lawyers. They--and I, I think I was somewhat political as a child and when my one brother said he was gonna be an engineer and so I said I was gonna (laughter) be a lawyer. I was treated very well by my grandfather (laughter). And, and they, the history--there's a history book of the first 100 years of the federal court in Seattle [Washington]. And they mention that I was like J.T. Gayton, that they mentioned that his, his grandson, [HistoryMaker] Gary Gayton is a prominent attorney in Seattle. So I--I have a lot of pride in my connection with my grandfather--$$Okay.$$--and father because my father was such a wonderful man.

Robert Lewis Harris

Lawyer, activist, and business executive Robert Lewis Harris was born to Lucy and Benjamin Harris on March 4, 1944, in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. After moving to California in 1960, Harris, a 1961 graduate of Oakland Technical High School, received his A.A. degree from Merritt College in Oakland in 1963 and his B.A. degree from San Francisco State University in 1965 (in 2007 he was inducted into the university’s Hall of Fame). Harris worked as a probation officer for four years before entering the University of California Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall). Shortly after Harris’s receipt of his J.D. degree in 1972, he joined the legal staff at Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) where he spent thirty-four years as an attorney and business executive, retiring in January 2007.

In 1973, Harris became active with his local bar associations, serving in 1976 as President of the Charles Houston Bar Association (CHBA), an association of Black lawyers in Northern California. He made a name for himself in the legal community by leading a team of Black lawyers who successfully defended the NAACP against libel and slander charges in 1978. A year later, he made history by becoming the first lawyer from the West Coast to ever serve as President of the National Bar Association (NBA). A Founder of the California Association of Black Lawyers in 1977, Harris in 1982 served as a founding member of the board of the National Bar Institute, the funding component of the NBA. Later that year, he became the first President of the Wiley Manuel Law Foundation, the funding component of CHBA. In 1983, he became Chairman of the Legal Redress Committee of Oakland branch of the NAACP, and in 1986, he received the NAACP’s highest legal honor, the W. Robert Ming Award for his advocacy on behalf of the NAACP. Harris has also received the highest honors of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity (Laurel Wreath Award) and the NBA (C. Francis Stradford Award).

In 1985, Harris argued and won a landmark corporate free speech case in the U.S. Supreme Court protecting PG&E’s First Amendment rights. In 1987, Harris married Glenda Newell, with whom he had two children. After completing the Harvard Business School’s Advance Management Program in 1988, he began his ascension through the corporate ranks at PG&E, first as Vice President of Community Relations and later as Vice President of Environmental Affairs. In the latter position, Harris expanded and led PG&E’s environmental stewardship endeavors to a new level. Harris has continued his involvement in community issues by serving in the highest ranking positions in Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity (Grand Polemarch) and in Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (the Boulé) as Grand Sire Archon-Elect; serving on the board of the Port of Oakland; being involved with the United Negro College Fund of the Bay Area; working with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (Co-Chair); working with the California League of Conservation Voters; working with the American Association of Blacks in Energy (General Counsel); being involved with the African American Experience Fund of the National Parks Foundation; serving on the U.S. EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Council; working with the California EPA Environmental Justice Advisory Committee; serving on the National Environmental Policy Commission; and being involved with the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce, among many others.

Accession Number

A2007.195

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/6/2007

Last Name

Harris

Maker Category
Middle Name

Lewis

Schools

Williams Elementary School

Peake High School

Oakland Technical High School

Merritt College

San Francisco State University

University of California, Berkeley School of Law

Harvard Business School

First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Arkadelphia

HM ID

HAR25

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

If You Have No Confidence In Self, You're Twice Defeated In The Race Of Life. With Confidence, You Have Won Before You Even Started.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/4/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Ithaca

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Energy executive and civil rights lawyer Robert Lewis Harris (1944 - ) worked for the Pacific Gas & Electric Company for over three decades. Throughout his career in the legal profession, Harris was involved with a wide variety of free speech, environmental, and community advocacy issues.

Employment

Alameda County Probation Department

Pacifica Police Department

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Lewis Harris' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robert Lewis Harris lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert Lewis Harris lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert Lewis Harris remembers the Williams School in Arkadelphia, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert Lewis Harris describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his father's start as a minister

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his early personality

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Robert Lewis Harris remembers the influence of his elementary school teacher

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Robert Lewis Harris describes the community of Arkadelphia, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert Lewis Harris talks about his father's churches in Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Lewis Harris remembers Peake High School in Arkadelphia, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Lewis Harris recalls his teachers and classmates at Peake High School

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his decision to move to California

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Lewis Harris remembers school integration in Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert Lewis Harris remembers his move to Oakland, California

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Lewis Harris describes the student body of Oakland Technical High School in Oakland, California

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Lewis Harris remembers enrolling in classes at Oakland Technical High School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his experiences at Oakland Technical High School in Oakland, California

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his experiences at Oakland Junior College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Lewis Harris describes the demographics of Oakland, California

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Lewis Harris remembers transferring to San Francisco State College in San Francisco, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his role as an officer of the Alameda County Probation Department

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Lewis Harris describes the juvenile probation system in Alameda County, California

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his decision to attend law school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert Lewis Harris describes the culture of the San Francisco Bay Area

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Robert Lewis Harris recalls his first year at the University of California Berkeley School of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his experiences at the University of California Berkeley School of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Robert Lewis Harris talks about his position on the California Law Review

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert Lewis Harris recalls his second year at the University of California Berkeley School of Law

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert Lewis Harris remembers his summer work experiences during law school

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert Lewis Harris recalls joining the legal department of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert Lewis Harris remembers Frederick Searls and Richard Clarke

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert Lewis Harris recalls his first legal case at the Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his first legal case on corporate free speech

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert Lewis Harris describes the case of Pacific Gas and Electric Company v. Public Utilities Commission of California, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Robert Lewis Harris describes Pacific Gas and Electric Company v. Public Utilities Commission of California, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robert Lewis Harris remembers the decision of Pacific Gas and Electric Company v. Public Utilities Commission of California

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robert Lewis Harris talks about the energy crisis

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his legal work for the NAACP

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robert Lewis Harris recalls how he was chosen to argue the case of Pacific Gas and Electric Company v. Public Utilities Commission of California

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robert Lewis Harris describes the precedent set by Pacific Gas and Electric Company v. Public Utilities Commission of California

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robert Lewis Harris talks about the Charles Houston Bar Association

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Robert Lewis Harris describes the creation of the Charles Houston Bar Association Foundation, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Robert Lewis Harris remembers Benjamin Travis

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Robert Lewis Harris talks about the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Robert Lewis Harris remembers Earl B. Dickerson

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Robert Lewis Harris talks about his time management skills

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his role in the National Bar Association

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Robert Lewis Harris talks about the past presidents of the National Bar Association

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Robert Lewis Harris talks about the history of the National Bar Association

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his role in funding African American bar associations

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Robert Lewis Harris reflects upon his leadership skills

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his concerns for African American organizations

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Robert Lewis Harris recalls the history of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Robert Lewis Harris talks about W.E.B. Du Bois' involvement with the Boule

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Robert Lewis Harris reflects upon the state of education in the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his transition to the operating division of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his role as the central division manager of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Robert Lewis Harris recalls the Oakland firestorm of 1991, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Robert Lewis Harris recalls the Oakland firestorm of 1991, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Robert Lewis Harris talks about the contamination of the water supply in Hinkley, California

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his career at the Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Robert Lewis Harris talks about the blackouts of 2001 in California

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Robert Lewis Harris talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Robert Lewis Harris describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Robert Lewis Harris describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Robert Lewis Harris reflects upon the importance of history

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

8$2

DATitle
Robert Lewis Harris remembers enrolling in classes at Oakland Technical High School
Robert Lewis Harris remembers the decision of Pacific Gas and Electric Company v. Public Utilities Commission of California
Transcript
Was that difficult though, that being your senior year, I mean besides the--you know, 'cause it's all new. You--$$Yeah, it was quite different. I--you have to go to your counselor and get your classes. So I went to the counselor, a person I'll never forget as long as I live. Her name was Mrs. Hillegas, H-I-L-L-E-G-A-S [Miriam Hillegas], and saw all the courses that could be taken. And you had choices between college prep and non-college prep, what they call workshop and all that other stuff. And of course, having believed all along that I was bright and would go to college, so I signed up for all college prep courses and gave her the slip.$$And, and so that worked out--$$No.$$Okay.$$She properly denied it (laughter).$$So tell me what happened. Let's talk about--$$Well, she was very kind. She looked at it, and I recall she looked back up at me like I wonder what's his problem. And either I brought with me or had my transcript from my prior--or my grades. It was my grades from my eleventh grade, having been finished eleventh grade at Peake High School [Arkadelphia, Arkansas]. And I presented those to her, which was essentially an A minus average, and she sort of frowned and smiled at the same time, as though this poor kid doesn't know. And she said, "We can't enroll you in college prep courses." "You can't enroll me in college prep courses?" She said, "No. You wouldn't be able to compete because you're coming from this school," and, she was trying to be helpful, I guess, "in Arkansas, and the kids in college prep are very smart students, and you just wouldn't be able to keep up with them." And I did not believe that. I, I mean, I just couldn't believe it. It was the first time in my life anybody had ever told me that I could not compete educationally. I'd never heard that concept before. And of course, she was the first white teacher, or counselor, that I had ever seen face to face. So, that was disappointing obviously. And I went back home that evening and gave the news to my sister [Jean Harris Blacksher], who went berserk and insisted that the next day that her husband, Artis [Artis Blacksher], who is 6'5", at that time at least 250 plus [pounds], today a little bit larger, who was instructed by her to go with me back to school. And Artis was high school graduation, truck driver; he was a member of the Teamsters [International Brotherhood of Teamsters]. And he went back with me the next morning to school to see Mrs. Hillegas. And I will always remember that morning because he was not diplomatic. He just went in and started raving at her. And of course, it scared the hell out of her, and she just said any course he wants he gets, any course he want and just, you know, like get out of here. This man is crazy (laughter). And so she signed, and I was able to get all of my college prep courses. And then I went to those courses, which was odd to me. I'd never seen this before, coming from an integrated--a segregated school into my first class in an integrated school. It looked--I'd seen black students at school, and population was about 10 percent or so, so you seen them. But when I got in the class, I think in any class I didn't see more than one black student outside of myself, and I thought that was strange. But then it dawned on me, ultimately, wait a minute; those students probably went through the same thing that I went through that my brother-in-law just went berserk on, and they weren't into the college prep courses because of the belief that they could not compete. And so I, in, in, at Oakland Tech [Oakland Technical High School, Oakland, California] I was usually one or two, three at the most, of blacks students in any of those college prep courses.$So describe the experience and the result.$$The experience was great. It never dawned on me that I was gonna lose the case [Pacific Gas and Electric Company v. Public Utilities Commission of California, 1986]. I was convinced that I would win, and I was convinced--and some people say you were lucky; it was you were cocky, or whatever. I had done so much research on every single justice, how they think, what they wrote about the subject, and even before I argued the case, I had predicted who would vote for it and who would vote against it, who would be in my favor and who would not be in my favor. As the appellate, we had lost in California, so we had to go first, and so I went. The, if you look at the transcript, the first question asked of me was from Justice Rehnquist [William Rehnquist], who was not the chief justice at the time because Burger [Warren E. Burger] was. Rehnquist, with his bad back, leans up and say, "Mr. Harris [HistoryMaker Robert Lewis Harris], where did you get this notion that a corporation, like an individual, is entitled to negative First Amendment rights, the right not to speak? We know we've granted them the right to speak, but going so far as giving them right not to speak is, you know, somehow absurd." I smiled. I said, "I got it from Justice Powell [Lewis F. Powell, Jr.], of course," (laughter), and then went on to explain why. And Justice Powell is just sitting there grinning. I knew then he would write the, the, the opinion, and he did write the opinion. The, the, the other justices, with the exception of Marshall [Thurgood Marshall], was pretty much engaged in the--Marshall didn't ask a single question. But they were really engaged in it, the (unclear). As you look at the news articles, all you see is Associated Press said it was one of the most animated [U.S.] Supreme Court arguments in long time before the Supreme Court. I needed, in particular, Sandra Day O'Connor, who was the first woman on the Supreme Court and hadn't been there too long. I knew I needed her vote, and I became convinced I had it when my opponent came up to argue, said I'll go first; he came second. And when she started cross examining him and calling him by my name, I said ah, I must have made a hell of an impression. And I knew he was in trouble, and primary because of the questions that she was asking of him, and he couldn't really respond. So I figured I had her vote as well, so I--and I, and I knew I had Marshall and Brennan [William J. Brennan, Jr.] because of the way that I had argued the case and had set out the briefs, so that government--and, and this shocked a lot of people. A lot of the corporate lawyers and so called experts in constitutional law--you notice I said so called--they knew Brennan and Marshall, the two most liberal justices, would never vote for a corporation. They're, they're probably right if you framed it that way. But I framed the, the issue that they had to answer the question whether or not you were gonna allow government to pick and choose who can speak. Because the only way you can enforce this statute or this order, since the envelope is very tiny, and only so many voices can be heard, which means that the state has to decide who speaks this month, who speaks next month. And then I just, just had fun quoting Brennan and Marshall the case after case after case where they said government has no business picking and choosing who can speak. And the only way that you can rule in favor of the state in this instance is for the state to pick and choose who speaks (laughter). And that was absolutely correct. And, and, and that was what the fatal flaw that most constitutional lawyers didn't quite understand, that Brennan and Marshall were tied to that notion; they were consistent. They couldn't now say, "Well, if it's a corporation, the state can pick and choose." No, they have been consistent. They don't want government picking and choosing who can speak, and you shouldn't. And, and the other thing I said, you--, "If free speech is about free speech, you really shouldn't have to decide," and if you look in the transcript, you'll see this, "you have to look and see who's speaking to determine whether or not that speech is permissible." Speech is a permissible or it is not. So you don't need to look and say oh, that's John Jones speaking; oh no, that's a corporation speaking. You're gonna let John Jones speak but not the corporation. So anyway, they brought in a 5-4, 5-3 decision. Justice Blackmun [Harry Blackmun] recused himself apparently because he owned utilities stock, because when the case was called, he got up and walked out. The opinion was written by Justice Powell and concurred in by Marshall, Brennan, Sandra Day O'Connor, and the chief justice, not Rehnquist, of course, but Burger.$$Now how much time passed between your argument and the decision?$$It was October the 8th [1985]; the decision came out in February [1986].

Howard Moore, Jr.

Attorney Howard Moore, Jr. was born on February 28, 1932 in Atlanta, Georgia to Bessie Sims Moore and Howard Moore, Sr. Growing up on Fort Street, his paper route sent him down Auburn Avenue where he encountered many of Atlanta’s prominent citizens, including Colonel Austin T. Walden, the dean of the black lawyers. When his mother left to work at a Lorain, Ohio steel plant, Moore lived with his aunt. He attended David T. Howard School, graduating in 1950. Attending Morehouse College, Moore wanted to be a journalist like Atlanta Daily World’s Lerone Bennett but was drawn to political science where he was taught by Dr. Robert Brisbane and Hugo Skala. Earning his B.A. degree in political science in 1954, he served in the United States Army until 1956. Moore worked for a while in Cleveland, Ohio, and then obtained his LL.B degree from Boston University School of Law in 1960.

After serving as a clerk for United States District Court Judge Charles E. Wyzanski, Jr., Moore was admitted to practice law in Massachusetts in 1961. Returning to Atlanta, he and was hired by the black firm of Hollowell and Ward in 1962, later joining the firm of Moore, Alexander and Rindskopf. As one of only ten black lawyers in Georgia, Moore worked long hours and traveled on Sundays with Vernon Jordan. As SCLC, SNCC and CORE applied pressure on local, state, and federal government to recognize racial equality, the pro-NAACP lawyers in Georgia, including Donald Hollowell, A.T. Walden and Moore remained involved in promoting anti-discrimination laws. The passage of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and Voting Rights Act (1965) eliminated legal discrimination in the public sphere. Moore was involved with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the cases of Georgia v. Peacock and Georgia v. Rachel. These 1966 victories taken to the United States Supreme Court used federal civil action to counterattack against unconstitutional attempts to use state law to prevent citizens from exercising their rights. Moore also represented Julian Bond in his successful fight to take his historic seat in the Georgia House of Representatives, also in 1966. He was also part of the NAACP team in the 1970 Supreme Court Decision of Turner v. Fouche.

Moore was the attorney for Angela Davis from 1971 to 1977, moving to Berkeley, California to become a part of the defense team with Leo Branton, Margaret Burnham, and Doris Brin Walker. In 1986, the National Bar Association filed an amicus curiae brief protesting the criminal contempt conviction of Moore, who was cited and fined $5,000 because of a question asked of a witness during the case, United States v. Albert Turner, et al. The conviction of Moore would have had a chilling effect upon the African American lawyer's rights.

Married to Jane Bond Moore, he has formed Moore and Moore and practices law in Oakland, California. They have three grown children.

Moore was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 14, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.137

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/14/2007

Last Name

Moore

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

David T. Howard High School

Morehouse College

Boston University School of Law

First Name

Howard

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

MOO10

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

2/28/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/Berkeley

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Tofu

Short Description

Civil rights lawyer Howard Moore, Jr. (1932 - ) played a major role with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the Supreme Court cases of Georgia v. Peacock and Georgia v. Rachel. Moore represented Julian Bond in his successful fight to take his seat in the Georgia House of Representatives, and become a part of the Angela Davis defense team.

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:14078,131:14938,144:32575,316:42230,391:49510,519:51910,585:123732,1393:124260,1402:124788,1412:127890,1477:129012,1498:132642,1566:133170,1580:149214,1807:193400,2375$0,0:20717,368:21095,375:37448,632:38118,643:39190,655:41401,687:41736,694:48280,748:49515,772:64171,918:69400,963:89340,1262:90060,1270:103504,1431:104015,1440:143598,1938:148141,2020:151529,2104:162054,2189:162434,2200:162814,2206:165322,2258:165626,2263:176438,2410:186050,2561:186400,2567:187100,2586:215470,3001:215890,3007:225500,3165:252360,3551:282288,4048:282762,4056:283868,4067:284263,4073:296260,4212:297115,4227:304064,4294:306152,4328:306728,4337:318790,4494
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Howard Moore, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Howard Moore, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his maternal grandmother's farm in Wilkes County, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his mother's family history and pulling fodder on his grandmother's farm in Wilkes County, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about his family's stance on church

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about his parents' personalities and whom he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory and how urban renewal changed his childhood community

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his experience at the David T. Howard School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about the Buttermilk Bottom neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about the Buttermilk Bottom neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Howard Moore, Jr. shares the history of David T. Howard High School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about the prominent residents of Atlanta, Georgia that he knew

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about the prominent people he met at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, including Colonel A.T. Walden

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about Colonel A.T. Walden and the integration of the Atlanta Police Department

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about the black-owned institutions in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about the death of his aunt, Fannie White

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about living with his mother after his aunt died in 1945

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about his favorite teachers and sports at David T. Howard High School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his experience at David T. Howard High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his experience at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his experience at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his experience in the U.S. Army during the Korean War

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about his decision to attend Boston University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts after leaving the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his experience at Boston University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his experience at Boston University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about applying for jobs after graduating from Boston University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes being hired by Judge Charles E. Wyzanski, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his experience working at the firm of Hollowell and Ward

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his first trial as a criminal defense lawyer

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes a coroner's inquest after the police killing of a black man in Macon, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes Donald L. Hollowell's personality and reputation

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes the organizations that his firm, Hollowell and Ward, collaborated with

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about the SCLC, SNCC and the Civil Rights issues in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes how slavery established the basis for discrimination nationwide

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes the case of Georgia v. Rachel

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes the outcomes of City of Greenwood v. Peacock and Georgia v. Rachel

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about his travels to Egypt

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Howard Moore, Jr. remembers meeting his wife, HistoryMaker Jane Bond Moore

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about meeting Thurgood Marshall on the day before arguing Bond v. Floyd in front of the U.S. Supreme Court

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes arguing the case of HistoryMaker Julian Bond, Bond v. Floyd, in the U.S. Supreme Court

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes defending Stokely Carmichael against charges of insurrection in the case of Carmichael v. Allen

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about Black Power and the importance of realizing African contributions to history

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes the impact of Black Power on subsequent social movements, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes the impact of Black Power on subsequent social movements, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about the 2006 trial of Liberian President Charles Taylor in Freetown, Sierra Leone, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about the 2006 trial of Liberian President Charles Taylor in Freetown, Sierra Leone, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about the 2005 trial of Saddam Hussein

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his decision to represent HistoryMaker Angela Davis during her trial

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes the importance of public support during the trial of HistoryMaker Angela Davis, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes the importance of public support during the trial of HistoryMaker Angela Davis, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes how he and HistoryMaker Leo Branton, Jr. defended HistoryMaker Angela Davis during her trial, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes how he and HistoryMaker Leo Branton, Jr. defended HistoryMaker Angela Davis during her trial, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about jury selection during the trial of HistoryMaker Angela Davis

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes the aftermath of HistoryMaker Angela Davis' trial

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes saving Ernest Whippler from execution in 1964, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes saving Ernest Whippler from execution in 1964, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes the outcome of Ernest Whippler's death row appeal

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Howard Moore, Jr. reflects on what he learned about himself during Ernest Whippler's case

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his decision not to return to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about the career of his wife, HistoryMaker Jane Bond Moore, and the founding of Moore and Moore

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his experience teaching at the University of California in Berkeley, California

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about some of his memorable cases in California

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his experience arguing cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Howard Moore, Jr. talks about his current legal practice

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Howard Moore, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Howard Moore, Jr. reflects upon what he would do differently with his life

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Howard Moore, Jr. reflects on the importance of perseverance

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Howard Moore, Jr. reflects upon his legacy and his children

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Howard Moore, Jr. concludes his interview and describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Howard Moore, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

9$7

DATitle
Howard Moore, Jr. describes defending Stokely Carmichael against charges of insurrection in the case of Carmichael v. Allen
Howard Moore, Jr. describes his decision to represent HistoryMaker Angela Davis during her trial
Transcript
And the next case of significance involved the Atlanta [Georgia] riot of September of 1966 in Summerhill, Atlanta, when an African American was shot by the police, and Stokely Carmichael and others from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] went out to Summerhill to speak to people. And Stokely was arrested and charged with disturbing the peace and with insurrection. Now insurrection was a capital crime. The insurrection statute had previously been declared unconstitutional in the Angelo Herndon case [Herndon v. Lowry]. But the State of Georgia apparently had ignored it and charged Stokely with insurrection. And the response in the black community to Stokely's arrest was something I had never seen before in my life. When I walked down the street, people came out of the stores to speak to me and to wish me well and to let me know that they supported Stokely. And when I went to court in the first hearing that we had, I was equally surprised to see my mother [Bessie Sims Moore] and her posse there, because she had never seen me in court before. And that was just overwhelming to see my mom there. And people came down from New York [New York City, New York], lawyers; and from Detroit [Michigan] from the National Lawyers Guild, and they helped us out. They went out and conducted--got affidavits and statements from every person they could find who knew anything about the incident and events, and returned all that information in to the Court, and the Court declared the Atlanta Disorderly Conduct Ordinance unconstitutional, which was the first time in the history of the United States that a local disorderly conduct statute had been the--the ordinance had been declared unconstitutional on vagueness grounds, and on the grounds of overbreadth--overbreadth meaning that it could be applied to people who were exercising their First Amendment right of speech. And that case was known as Carmichael against Allen, and [Ivan] Allen was somewhat known as a progressive mayor of the City of Atlanta. And we used Carmichael v. Allen elsewhere; in Prattville, Alabama, for one; in another case involving Stokely Carmichael, and throughout the South to get injunctions against the enforcement of overbroad statutes against the exercise of free speech.$$Okay. That's--okay. So that takes us to 1967 or so?$$About '67 [1967]. Yes.$$Okay.$Well, can we talk about the [HM] Angela Davis case?$$Yeah. What would you like to know (laughs)?$$All right.$$Free Angela.$$All right.$$The power of the people will free Angela Davis.$$Now this is about, like, 1970--(simultaneous)--$$1970, '71 [1971] and '72 [1972]. Yeah.$$(Unclear.)$$Yeah. People thought I was crazy, man, 'cause I would saying "The power of the people will free Angela Davis." And it did. In a moment, I'll try to explain.$$Okay.$$I didn't know Angela before this incident. I'd never met her or seen her. And I was talking to a friend of mine by the name of [W.] Haywood Burns, who was later killed in an automobile accident in South Africa. And Haywood said that I should go and visit Angela when she was in prison--in jail in New York at the House of D-- Metropolitan House of Detention. And so he set up the meeting. And it wasn't for the purpose of trying to represent Angela, 'cause that was the furthest thing from my mind. I went to see her as a--I was an activist lawyer, I suppose--and out of interest. And so when I--I went to see her on December 22nd, 1970. And just before I went in to see her, I had learned that Justice Harlan had denied her request to stay her extradition to California. And so I got there and I cleared security. They told me that Angela would be across the floor in this rotunda. There's a big--it was a big rotunda in the House of D. So as I was walking over from the entrance to where I was to meet Angela, I passed a redbone woman in a green smock. I saw her talking to another woman. And I didn't pay her much attention, except she was a redbone woman. And I went over and I sat down and waited about twenty minutes. And after about twenty minutes, this redbone woman came over and introduced herself as Angela Davis and apologized to me profusely for having kept me waiting. And I say to myself, "How in the world did I pass by this woman I've seen and not recognize her? I've seen every picture of her in the newspaper, magazines and on television; and why didn't I recognize her, and all these other people who claiming they, they recognize did her." And we talked, and she asked me some questions about what did I think about her representing herself. I thought it was a good idea, and I explained her why. And as I was leaving--oh, she asked me, when did I think that she was going--they couldn't move her back, take her back to--take her to California. I said, "You're going back to California, tonight." They're gonna take you tonight. It's not gonna be two weeks or three weeks. They gonna take you right now, because possession is 99 percent of the law, and the sooner they get you back to California, the fewer chances you'll have to frustrate their efforts to get you back for the legal proceedings. And so as I was leaving, I asked her what can I do for her, and she said, "Would you call my parents and tell them that I'm okay." I said, "Okay." And that was it. I didn't hear any more from Angela until sometime in January, Franklin-- Franklin called me. (unclear) Franklin Alexander, yeah. Franklin called me and asked me would I--how would I think of--what would I think about representing Angela and being her chief counsel. And I said, "Well, you know, I got a situation here in Atlanta [Georgia], but I'll see what we can do," 'cause my mother [Bessie Sims Moore] was ill at the time. And so my mother passed at the end of January, so then I was able to agree to come out to California. And I came out here and I--and initially we would stay out here for a year. Jane [HM Jane Bond Moore] and I agreed that it would probably be very interesting to bring the kids out because--and live in Berkeley [California], because Berkeley had a voluntary desegregated school system, and we just come out for a year, 'cause I anticipated the trial might take a year, 'cause California had a reputation for having long trials. So I came out for a couple of hearings in February, and then I moved out here in March. And after I was out here for about a week, this house became available and I rented the house. It was--[HM Ronald] Ron Dellums lived here before we rented the house from him. And he had been elected to the Congress, and so I rented the house from Ron Dellums. And then in July, Jane and the other, and the children came out. And we worked on the case. And people thought I was really crazy 'cause I said, "The power of the people will free Angela Davis." And they said-

Jeff Greenup

Jeff L. Greenup was born on March 24, 1919, on a farm in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. His family included some staunch civil rights activists, and Greenup was only thirteen when he and his father were arrested for objecting to a powerful Baton Rouge businessman when he refused to pay the agreed upon price for the delivery of produce from the Greenup farm. Greenup grew up in New Orleans where he was drafted into the U.S. Army. After spending four years, one month, twenty days, and nine hours in the army, including twenty-eight months in World War II combat in the China, Burma, and India Theater, Greenup moved to New York City where he attended Long Island University on the GI Bill of Rights and received his B.S. degree in 1948. In 1951, Greenup received his law degree from Brooklyn Law School and was admitted to the New York State Bar.

After graduation, Greenup formed the law firm of Mack, McFadden and Greenup. In 1963, Greenup’s eighty-two-year-old Aunt Charlotte was arrested in Clinton, Louisiana, for protesting the treatment of African Americans, and Greenup served as one of her lawyers. Around the same time, he organized what would be known as the "United Nations Law Firm" of Greenup, Schimmel, Golar & Levister, a firm that included four partners and fourteen associates of diverse ethnic makeup. Greenup worked primarily in the area of litigation, and many of his cases were pro bono. Greenup spent six weeks during the summer of 1964 in St. Augustine, Florida, defending Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his followers. Over the years, he also represented the NAACP, CORE, and SNCC.

Greenup served as legal counsel to the Harlem Urban Development Corporation during its entire existence and was elected as president of the New York Branch of the NAACP, where he served six consecutive terms. He litigated several famous cases, including his representation of the family of Clifford Glover, a ten-year-old black youth killed by a New York City police officer, successfully winning a significant monetary reward from the City of New York. In 1984, Greenup would serve as one of the founding members of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, an organization determined to advance equality, excellence and support minorities in the legal profession. Throughout the 1980s, Greenup traveled extensively. He was selected to travel to Russia to study the Russian legal system and was sent to South Africa to ensure the legitimacy of the nation’s first democratically-held election. The NAACP awarded Greenup a Valor Award in 1991. He also received the Wiley A. Branton Award from the National Bar Association and the Ming Advocacy Award from the New York City NAACP.

Greenup passed away on March 1, 2013 at the age of 93. He was the father of two daughters, Carolann and Melanie Theresa Greenup.

Jeff Greenup was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 5, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.125

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/5/2007 |and| 4/26/2007 |and| 4/28/2007

Last Name

Greenup

Maker Category
Schools

Cornucopia School

Albert Wicker Junior High School

McDonogh No. 35 Senior High School

Long Island University

Brooklyn Law School

First Name

Jeff

Birth City, State, Country

Baton Rouge

HM ID

GRE09

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda, Northern California

Favorite Quote

Treat Everybody Else The Way You Want To Be Treated And Don't Worry About It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/24/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Collard Greens

Death Date

3/1/2013

Short Description

Association branch chief executive and civil rights lawyer Jeff Greenup (1919 - 2013 ) was a former president of the New York NAACP, one of the founding members of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, and co-founded the law firm, Greenup, Schimmel, Golar & Levister.

Employment

NAACP New York Branch

Mack, McFadden, and Greenup

Greenup, Schimmel, Golar and Levister

Favorite Color

Blue, Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:952,9:21320,400:27590,641:65976,931:96640,1275:104416,1361:111332,1404:121024,1504:126456,1576:129800,1862:189470,2322:196310,2377:200072,2424:212608,2534:216790,2567:238622,2777:246320,2847:271500,3054:273040,3116:282691,3240:293091,3371:315120,3576$0,0:606,4:21340,448:27010,575:54020,868:115855,1247:119413,1282:119761,1290:123304,1330:149431,1580:158428,1629:158798,1635:171965,1834:172390,1841:175280,1890:178425,1973:190028,2101:190396,2144:210425,2343:215000,2424
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jeff Greenup's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup talks about his paternal uncle, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup talks about his paternal uncle, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup recalls being arrested as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup remembers his release from jail

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup remembers Eddie Robinson

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jeff Greenup recalls first grade at Cornucopia School in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jeff Greenup recalls childhood holiday celebrations

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup describes his parents' careers

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup remembers segregation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup talks about his surname

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup recalls meeting a distant paternal relative

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup recalls his father's cooperation with neighboring white farmers, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup recalls his father's cooperation with neighboring white farmers, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup recalls his father's cooperation with neighboring white farmers, pt. 3

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup talks about his NAACP membership

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup describes his U.S. Army service

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup talks about racial discrimination in the segregated U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup remembers Mary McLeod Bethune

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup talks about his siblings' higher education

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup recalls learning of his aunt's arrest for voter registration

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup remembers representing his aunt at trial

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup recalls his cousin's role in a bus boycott in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup remembers riding in an all-white train car

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup describes his move to New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup remembers his early years in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup talks about joining the NAACP

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup remembers a civil rights case in Westchester County, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup recalls meeting A.P. Tureaud, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup describes his attempt to waive his bar examination in Louisiana, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup describes his attempt to waive his bar examination in Louisiana, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup recalls his decision to attend Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup remembers President Harry S. Truman's election

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup recalls living at the Harlem YMCA in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup describes the riot at Camp Stewart in Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup recalls his overseas deployment during World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup remembers an attack on the white civil rights lawyers in St. Augustine, Florida

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup recalls arguing a civil rights case in Quincy, Florida, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup recalls arguing a civil rights case in Quincy, Florida, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Jeff Greenup's interview, session 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup describes his paternal aunt, Charlotte B. Greenup

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup reads a letter from the Congress of Racial Equality in Clinton, Louisiana

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup reads the district attorney's response to the Congress of Racial Equality in Clinton, Louisiana

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup recalls learning of his aunt's trial in Clinton, Louisiana

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup describes a police brutality case in Nassau County, New York

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup remembers establishing the law firm of Mack, McFadden and Greenup

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup recalls his civil rights work in St. Augustine, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Jeff Greenup recalls an attempt on the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup recalls an attempt on the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup recalls conflicts with law enforcement during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup remembers watching an interview with Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup remembers working for Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup recalls the decision of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup describes his work at the law firm of Mack, McFadden and Greenup

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup remembers Thomas Shea's trial for the murder of Clifford Glover

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup recalls mentoring a former client, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup recalls mentoring a former client, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup talks about moving to Hastings-on-Hudson, New York

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup recalls a trial in White Plains, New York

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup remembers the law firm of Greenup, Schimmel, Golar and Levister

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup recalls the search for witnesses in a robbery case

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup remembers the dismissal of a robbery case

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup talks about his political affiliations

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Jeff Greenup recalls his decision not to serve as a judge

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup recalls his legal work for New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup remembers Gloria Toot and Evelyn Cunningham

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup remembers his work for the Harlem Urban Development Corporation

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup talks about the Harlem Urban Development Corporation

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup talks about the gentrification of New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup recalls the development of Lenox Terrace in New York City

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup recalls the attempted evictions at Lenox Terrace

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup describes his career trajectory in the NAACP

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup remembers his election as president of the NAACP New York Branch

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup recalls suing the City College of New York, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup recalls suing the City College of New York, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup talks about the Metropolitan Black Bar Association

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup describes the community of black lawyers in Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup remembers travelling to the Soviet Union

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Jeff Greenup remembers his visit to the Soviet Union

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup recalls his first trip to South Africa

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup describes his experiences in South Africa

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup remembers receiving the William Robert Ming Advocacy Award

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Jeff Greenup talks about receiving the NAACP Men of Valor award

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Jeff Greenup describes the Wiley A. Branton Award

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Jeff Greenup describes his hopes for the next generation of lawyers

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Jeff Greenup narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Jeff Greenup narrates his photographs, pt. 3

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Jeff Greenup narrates his photographs, pt. 4

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Jeff Greenup narrates his photographs, pt. 5

DASession

1$2

DATape

1$7

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Jeff Greenup remembers his release from jail
Jeff Greenup recalls an attempt on the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 2
Transcript
In those days there was a black newspaper called the Pittsburgh Courier [New Pittsburgh Courier]. And I--it used to come out once a week. I used to save my pennies, and I liked to read the Pittsburgh Courier. I read it religiously so I read a lot about the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] in the Pittsburgh Courier.$$And how old were you, thirteen?$$Yeah, I was thirteen then. And so on our way to jail, my dad--we were talking about what we're gonna do. So I told my dad, I said, "There's an organization I been reading about called the NAACP. Maybe you could contact them." So as we were going in jail, there was a young black man coming out of jail. And so my dad stopped him and said, "Well son, do you know Reverend G.T. Carter?" So the young man said, "Well, I've heard of him." So my dad said, "Well that's my pastor. It's very important I get a message to him. Will you get a message to him?" So by that time the police said, "Come on, move along." So my dad said, "It's very important that you contact Reverend G.T. Carter." Said, "Mister--well actually what, what I'm gonna tell him?" "Tell him Deacon Greenup [Wallace Greenup] and his son are in jail; I need to see him." Lucky for me and my dad, that young man found Reverend G.T. Carter who was our pastor. Told him we were--gave him my daddy's message and he came to see us. So we were talking to the (unclear). Pastor Carter, he and my daddy were, daddy were discussing and agonizing over what they could do to get us out, you know. Left the wagon on the street and all that stuff. So my dad says, "Well my son was telling me about an organization called the NAA something, and I--he been reading about it and he think they may be able to help us." So Reverend Carter said, "Yes, NAACP." So my dad said, "You know anything about it?" He said, "Yeah, sure. I know Walter White when they, they meet at my church sometimes." So my dad said, "Well, where are they?" He said, "Well, they have a headquarters up in New York [New York]." So my dad sort of crestfallen, he said, "Boy, New York. I don't know anybody in New York gonna help us way down here." So Reverend Carter says, "Well I, I know Walter," Walter White was the national executive secretary, "and I'll call him." So as a result of that incident, the meeting the young man coming out of jail as we were going in, and he took my dad's message to Reverend Carter. Reverend Carter did call New York and he got Walter White and told him about our situation. And Walter White I'm told, called a lawyer named Thurgood [Thurgood Marshall], and Thurgood had lawyers around the country who would cover certain areas for him and the lawyer in Louisiana name was A.P. Tureaud. So as a result of that, they arranged for A.P. Tureaud to come get my dad and me out of jail, and he got us out of jail and he represented us. Incidentally, he was down in New Orleans [Louisiana], which is about eighty-five miles south of Baton Rouge [Louisiana]. And so we spent the night in jail. And I don't recall who took care of my dad's wagon and horses, but I do remember he told Reverend Carter he had left the horse, wagon and not long later Reverend Carter saw to it that somebody went and got the, the team. But as a result of that incident, A.P. Tureaud came and got us out of jail. That's the first and only lawyer I'd ever met, and it was as a result of that meeting and my experience with A.P. Tureaud that caused me to want to be a lawyer, and so I, I made up my mind that's what I was gonna be.$You said you and Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] crawled into the tent.$$No, we walked to the tent and, and, and in the broad daylight just before sundown so anybody who was watching would see that he was going in the tent 'cause the plan was to let whoever it was think he was in the tent when midnight came. So we walked to the tent, and he waved to folk who were out front and inclu- including Hosea Williams and other lawyers, said good night and he and I tucked in. But we only tucked, tucked in for a second, for a second. Went in and, and we didn't walk out, we crawled out of the tent all the way back to the office, and then they took him out the back of the office and took him to another location. And I stayed in the office along with a doctor, Dr. Hayling [Robert Hayling] was the dentist's name and the other members of my staff, the other four lawyers. And I think--let's see, Hosea Williams, he didn't stay; he went with Dr. King. He's one that took Dr. King wherever he took him. I don't even know where he stayed that night. And so at one, 'bout one minute after twelve [o'clock], somebody threw a stick of dynamite in the tent and blew it up. And we knew--we really became concerned then as to how that young kid knew that, and he had to hear it from somebody. And whoever he heard it from, had to be an adult and had to be--we concluded on the plan of what happened. And unfortunately the reporter said dynamite, dynamite in other tents--police, nothing happened. And I also wondered who that young kid was, where he was and I made that statement once before. I didn't know I was being covered and The New York Times picked it up and wrote it in a column. They asked me who my unsung heroes were. And I said that kid was one of them. And but I never found out who he was.$$Well you have a picture of him, though.$$That kid?$$Yes. No$$No, that picture is Dr. Hayling who's the dentist.$$The dentist's office, okay.$$Whose office we were--he allowed us to use that as our headquarters. And he had some awful type experiences also.$$So that kid saved your life as well that night.$$Oh yeah, my life and Dr. King's. We, we wondered how he knew we was gonna be sleeping in the tent. Which meant somebody had been talking out of school. I don't know how it happened, but I know the policy was that he would not sleep in the same place two nights in a row while he was there.

The Honorable Frankie Freeman

U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Frankie Freeman was born Marie Frankie Muse on November 24, 1916 in Danville, Virginia. Her parents, Maude Beatrice Smith Muse and William Brown Muse, came from college-educated families. Her relatives included Charles Sumner Muse, Edward Muse and Clarence Muse. Freeman grew up in Danville where she attended Westmoreland School and learned to play the piano. At age sixteen, Freeman enrolled in her mother’s alma mater, Hampton Institute, which she attended between 1933 and 1936. While in New York, Freeman met and married Shelby T. Freeman. In 1944, she was admitted to Howard University Law School where William H. Hastie and Spottswood Robinson were on the faculty. Freeman graduated second in her class in 1947.

Upon graduating from law school, Freeman set up her law offices in the Jefferson Bank Building in June of 1949 and became engaged in the Civil Rights Movement. Freeman was a part of an NAACP legal brain trust, which included Sidney Redmond, Robert Witherspoon and Henry Espy in the NAACP’s 1949 Brewton v. the Board of Education of St. Louis, following the case to victory in the Supreme Court of the State of Missouri. In 1954, the same year as Brown v. the Board of Education, Freeman was the lead attorney for the landmark NAACP case Davis et al v. the St. Louis Housing Authority, which ended legal racial discrimination in public housing. In 1955, Freeman became the first associate general counsel of the St. Louis Housing Authority and Land Clearance Authority. In 1958, she became a charter member of the Missouri advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Freeman provided NAACP counsel to CORE activists demonstrating against hiring discrimination policies at Jefferson Bank. In March of 1964, she was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson as the first female member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Freeman served as a commissioner for sixteen years, and later as Inspector General for the Community Services Administration during the Carter Administration. Freeman was also a municipal court judge in the early 1970s. In 1982, Freeman helped form a bipartisan Citizens Commission on Civil Rights to monitor the federal government’s enforcement of laws barring discrimination. Freeman was a practicing attorney for more than fifty years.

Freeman was a Trustee Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of Howard University, past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Council on Aging, Inc. and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. She was also a board member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis, the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District and the St. Louis Center for International Relations. She was the author of A Song of Faith and Hope: The Life of Frankie Muse Freeman and past national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Freeman also received several honorary doctorate degrees from institutions that include Hampton University, Washington University and Howard University. She was inducted into the National Bar Association’s Hall of Fame in 1990.

Freeman passed away on January 12, 2018 at age 101.

Accession Number

A2006.183

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/19/2006

Last Name

Freeman

Maker Category
Schools

Westmoreland School

Hampton University

Howard University School of Law

First Name

Frankie

Birth City, State, Country

Danville

HM ID

FRE05

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm, Cape Town, South Africa

Favorite Quote

Do Your Homework.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

11/24/1916

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

St. Louis

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Death Date

1/12/2018

Short Description

U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner The Honorable Frankie Freeman (1916 - 2018 ) was a former municipal court judge for St. Louis, Missouri and was the first female member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Freeman was the lead attorney for the NAACP case, Davis et al v. St. Louis Housing Authority.

Employment

the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Price Administration

Frankie Freeman, private practice

State of Missouri

St. Louis Housing Authority

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Community Services Administration

Montgomery Hollie and Associates, LLC.

Citizens Commission on Civil Rights

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Frankie Freeman

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls the black businesses in Danville, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about her mother's education and profession

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers her paternal grandfather, Frank Muse

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls the independence of the black community in Danville, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her father's education and profession

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls how her parents met and married

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her neighborhood in Danville, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers segregation in Danville, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her early musical talents

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her decision to attend the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her experience at the Hampton Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers African American lawyer Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman shares a story about the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls applying to St. John's College of Law in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers meeting her husband, Shelby Freeman, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Frankie Muse Freeman recalls her decision to apply to Howard University Law School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her acceptance to Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers registering for her final year of law school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls graduating from Howard University School of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers her mentors at Howard University School of Law

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about starting her law firm in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers the Jefferson Bank and Trust Company

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls other black female professionals in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers Brewten v. the Board of Education of St. Louis, 1950

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about Davis et al. v. the St. Louis Housing Authority, 1955

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers Constance Baker Motley

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her position as a Missouri assistant attorney general

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls being hired by the St. Louis Housing Authority

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers the effects of Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, 1954 in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers notable civil rights attorneys

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about desegregation in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers the Pruitt Igoe housing project in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about her activism in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her nomination to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her U.S. Senate confirmation to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers her first hearing for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her experience at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman reflects upon the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers President Lyndon Baines Johnson's administration

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about the importance of affirmative action

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her presidency of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers President Richard Milhous Nixon's administration

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls leaving the St. Louis Housing Authority

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman reflects upon President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.'s administration

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her work for Native American rights

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers her discrimination case against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her appointment as inspector general for the Community Services Administration

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her dismissal as inspector general for the Community Services Administration

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about the mismanagement of funds in public agencies

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers William Clay, Sr.'s congressional election

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls forming the Citizens Commission on Civil Rights

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers Clarence Thomas' nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers Clarence Thomas' nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about her work in private practice

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her family

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about her organizational involvement

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

2$8

DATitle
The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers registering for her final year of law school
The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers Brewten v. the Board of Education of St. Louis, 1950
Transcript
Because I would get up in the morning very early, I would, I would, I'd get up like at three o'clock and do--and, and study. In the meantime however, there were a group of us (unclear) about four of us who were, you know, a study team. We would study to, all of us were pretty much around the same age at that time and same interests and so we studied together actually. And so I did very well and then my second year I became pregnant and so I still got through the second year but the baby was due in, in September which would be the beginning of my senior year. And the summer was fine because you see I was out of school and so I at least could do, do all of the things that I would ordinarily be doing. But class was to start in September the 10th and I knew my son [Shelby Freeman III] was due soon in September. So I wrote to--in the meantime Dean Hastie [William H. Hastie] had been appointed governor of the [U.S.] Virgin Islands so we had a new dean, Dean Johnson [George M. Johnson]. So I wrote to him in August and asked for permission to register late--to register after my baby was born and he wrote to me and reminded me of the rules that I couldn't do that and that only the university registrar could make that decision. So I--on the date of the--of September 10th Shelby [Freeman's husband, Shelby Freeman, Jr.] took me--by the time, I don't know what the arrangement was but anyway he took me up there and left me and I went over to the university registrar and filled out the form and asked to be, to register, you know, to register late. Dean Wilkerson [ph.] who was the registrar looked at me and he said, "Mrs. Freeman [HistoryMaker Frankie Freeman] I think you should stay out a year and come back after your baby is born." Well the war [World War II, WWII] was ending this was in '44 [1944] and I knew that my husband who was a St. Louisian that the decision was that we were coming to St. Louis [Missouri] and so I was afraid--I couldn't afford that, I couldn't take that chance. So I said thank you and then I came on back over to the law school [Howard University School of Law, Washington, D.C.] and stood in line to register and all of the people who were ahead of me to register immediately dropped out and got behind me and I registered. As soon as I had registered Ms. Cooper [ph.], Dean Johnson's special (unclear) secretary came to me and said, "Dean Johnson wants to see you." So when I went into his office he said, "Now Mrs. Freeman you have registered and I want you to know that you are already in good standing so you can go home and after your baby is born and your doctor releases you then you may return to school because I think your team will probably help you during that time." So I, I called Shelby and he came and picked me up and my son was born four days later on, on the, the 14th.$Tell us about Brewton versus the Board of Education [Brewton v. Board of Education of St. Louis, 1950].$$Oh. That was the first civil rights case in which I participated with three other lawyers, civil rights, well established Sidney Redmond [Sidney R. Redmond] and Henry Espy [Henry D. Espy] and Robert Witherspoon. And when I came to St. Louis [Missouri] and I opened my office and I joined the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] and I went to see them and I said, "I would be willing to work with you if any cases come." In--St. Louis had still segregated black, white in Washington Technical High School [Booker T. Washington Technical High School, St. Louis, Missouri] they had a little quote, separate but equal. Had courses that I think--they had both of them automobile and mechanics and Hadley Technical High School [St. Louis, Missouri] also had automobile mechanics but then they started a course in airplane mechanics. That hit the news and so there were three brothers who by that time there was excitement about the planes and everything. They read this and they told their parents, "We want to go, we want to take that course." So he did what parents do, he went even though he knew what the situation was he went to the school and was turned down, went to the board was turned down. They came to the NAACP and so then that's when they told me and I became--yeah I want to be involved in that too. We filed suit in circuit court [22nd Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri] challenging it as unconstitutional even under separate but equal and the judge decided in favor of the three Brewton brothers. So the board of education appealed it to the State of Missouri. Briefs were filed and we travelled to Jefferson City [Missouri], Sidney Redmond argued the case. The supreme court found in favor of--affirmed the case of the circuit court, found in favor of the plaintiffs and issued a mandate to them that they could not have a course in airplane mechanics for white student and not have one for blacks. So the board of education closed down the course for white students.$$So they, they solved it by subtraction?$$They solved it by subtraction and what happened, and of course we never have been able to prove this, but there were, there was a private school that we had been told that the white students went to but we didn't, but we never of course pursued that. What happened however, the three Brewton brothers during then did get trained, but they got trained to the [U.S.] military the Korean War. They got trained and one of the brothers even became an assistant manager of the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] out in St. Louis and when he was talking and during the time several years later when I was talking about this case and somebody told him about it he called me and he told me that he was talking to his supervisor telling him about his experience and how he had gotten to be, how he had gotten his training. And then he learned that the supervisor was a student at Hadley at the time that he was, you know, was denied admission. But by that time they had become good friends and all so he shared his experience.$$It's ironic.$$Yeah.$$So the next, I guess, big case--now this is, this one went all the way to, to, to the Supreme Court of Missouri, right?$$Yeah that went to the Supreme Court of Missouri.

Elaine Jones

Legal powerhouse and civil rights lawyer Elaine Ruth Jones was born on March 2, 1944 in Norfolk, Virginia, the daughter of a Pullman porter and a schoolteacher. Jones observed firsthand the impact of racism on her community, when one of her teachers was represented by Thurgood Marshall in the case, Allen v. Hicks.

Jones attended Howard University, where she worked her way through school. Joining the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and becoming dean of pledges, Jones graduated from Howard University in 1965, finishing school on the Dean’s List. After college, she entered the Peace Corps, where she traveled to Turkey and taught English as a second language. Jones considered applying for a second tour of duty in Micronesia, but decided to return to school in 1967.

In 1967, Jones entered the University of Virginia Law School, where she was one of five black students and the only female. After her graduation in 1970, Jones was offered a job with a prominent Wall Street firm, but declined the offer in order to take a position at the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund (LDF), which, at that time, was headed by Jack Greenberg.

In 1972, Jones represented a black man on death row who had been accused of raping a white woman in the Furman v. Georgia Jones case. The Supreme Court decision on the case abolished the death penalty in thirty-seven states for twelve years, only two years after Jones had left law school. During this time, Jones argued numerous discrimination cases, including some against the country’s biggest employers. These cases included Patterson v. American Tobacco Co., Stallworth v. Monsanto, and Swint v. Pullman Standard. In 1973, Jones became the Legal Defense Fund’s managing attorney.

In 1975, Jones left the NAACP’s LDF to join President Ford’s administration as Special Assistant to Secretary of Transportation William T. Coleman. She returned to the LDF in 1977 as a litigator. During her continued tenure with the LDF organization, she was instrumental in the passage of 1982’s Voting Rights Act Amendment, 1988’s Fair Housing Act and Civil Rights Restoration Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Jones was elected to the American Bar Association Board of Governors in 1989, the first African American to do so. In 1993, Jones became the first female president and defense counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. She was named one of Ebony Magazine’s “10 Most Powerful Black Women” in 2001. Jones works as Director-Counsel of the LDF, and received an honorary degree from Spelman College in 2007.

Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 30, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.151

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/30/2006 |and| 3/6/2007

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Liberty Park Elementary School

J Cox Junior High School

Booker T. Washington High School

University of Virginia School of Law

First Name

Elaine

Birth City, State, Country

Norfolk

HM ID

JON16

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Potomac Chapter of The Links, Inc

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere New

Favorite Quote

You Do The Best You Can, And That's All You Can Do

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/2/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Civil rights lawyer Elaine Jones (1944 - ) was the first female president and defense counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. She was also the first African American elected to the American Bar Association Board of Governors.

Employment

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

United States Department of Transportation

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue, Browns

Timing Pairs
0,0:750,17:11873,544:45290,898:56004,1021:57456,1091:69278,1270:71788,1289:72248,1295:72708,1307:74088,1507:77635,1676:94451,1921:120466,2149:175688,2608:183096,2832:186776,2904:187420,2912:188156,2939:202742,3023:203252,3029:212386,3249:235150,3524$0,0:1794,40:2184,46:4758,144:5148,150:11154,310:20670,494:21372,506:43516,826:52828,999:53254,1006:59360,1131:61419,1181:67910,1342:70141,1366:80440,1469:82400,1482:97355,1686:106400,1781:107210,1791:109911,1810:115546,1871:119295,1914:123630,1969:140066,2176:141036,2193:141715,2202:148772,2345:153434,2446:154100,2456:158099,2489:160376,2551:162862,2572:163242,2578:175603,2735:185180,2867
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Elaine Jones' interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Elaine Jones lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Elaine Jones describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Elaine Jones describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Elaine Jones describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Elaine Jones describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Elaine Jones describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Elaine Jones describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Elaine Jones describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Elaine Jones describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Elaine Jones explains why she enjoys the countryside

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Elaine Jones remembers family meals during her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Elaine Jones describes her siblings and their occupations

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Elaine Jones describes the street where she grew up in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Elaine Jones describes her neighborhood in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Elaine Jones talks about her father's career as a Pullman porter

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Elaine Jones describes her father's experiences of discrimination as a Pullman porter

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Elaine Jones remembers her parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Elaine Jones remembers celebrating holidays as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Elaine Jones describes her elementary school education

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Elaine Jones describes her childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Elaine Jones remembers visiting the dentist as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Elaine Jones remembers growing up in segregated Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Elaine Jones recalls her decision to pursue a law career, pt.1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Elaine Jones recalls her decision to pursue a law career, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Elaine Jones describes her junior high school education

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Elaine Jones remembers attending her maternal grandfather's church

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Elaine Jones remembers Norfolk's Booker T. Washington High School

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Elaine Jones remembers the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Elaine Jones describes her decision to attend Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Elaine Jones remembers her first impressions of Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of Elaine Jones interview, session 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Elaine Jones remembers Stokely Carmichael as a student at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Elaine Jones recalls how she was impacted by activism at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Elaine Jones describes Stokely Carmichael's personality

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Elaine Jones describes her graduation from Howard University in 1965

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Elaine Jones remembers her decision to join the Peace Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Elaine Jones remembers teaching English in Turkey through the Peace Corps

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Elaine Jones describes her experience as African American in Turkey

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Elaine Jones describes the Ulus section of Istanbul, Turkey

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Elaine Jones recalls her travels in the Middle East

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Elaine Jones reflects upon her experience in the Peace Corps

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Elaine Jones reflects upon how her Peace Corps service influenced her views

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Elaine Jones remembers applying to law school

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Elaine Jones recalls being the first black woman to attend the University of Virginia School of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Elaine Jones recalls the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Elaine Jones recalls gender discrimination at the University of Virginia School of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Elaine Jones recalls her supporters at the University of Virginia School of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Elaine Jones recalls an instance of discrimination at University of Virginia School of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Elaine Jones remembers her classes as a first year law student

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Elaine Jones describes her Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellowship

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Elaine Jones describes the education she received at University of Virginia School of Law

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Elaine Jones remembers her interviews with civil rights attorneys in 1969

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Elaine Jones describes her mentors at University of Virginia School of Law

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Elaine Jones describes being offered a position at a prestigious law firm

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Elaine Jones recalls joining the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Elaine Jones recalls her parents' reactions to her career

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Elaine Jones recalls her sister's enrollment at the University of Virginia School of Law

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Elaine Jones recalls the growth of diversity at the University of Virginia

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Elaine Jones remembers passing the bar exam in Virginia

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Elaine Jones recalls the staff of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Elaine Jones describes the founding of NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Elaine Jones describes the attorneys of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Elaine Jones describes the cases of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Elaine Jones talks about Jack Greenberg

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Elaine Jones talks about Robert L. Carter

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Elaine Jones remembers litigating capital punishment cases

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Elaine Jones explains the strategy behind the litigation of Furman v. Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Elaine Jones describes the U.S. Supreme Court case of Furman v. Georgia, 1972

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Elaine Jones recalls announcing the Furman v. Georgia decision to inmates on death row

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Elaine Jones recalls lessons from the Peace Corps that affected her law practice

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Elaine Jones recalls transitioning from capital punishment to employment discrimination cases

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Elaine Jones describes the case of Stallworth v. Monsanto Company, 1977

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Elaine Jones recalls the case of Patterson v. American Tobacco Company, 1982

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Elaine Jones explains how she was compensated as co-counsel to local attorneys

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Elaine Jones describes the difference between employment discrimination and capital punishment clients

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Elaine Jones describes the organizations involved in class action employment discrimination suits

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Elaine Jones describes the case of Swint v. Pullman-Standard, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Elaine Jones describes the case of Swint v. Pullman-Standard, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Elaine Jones recalls working in the U.S. Department of Transportation

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Elaine Jones remembers Mr. William T. Coleman, Jr.

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Elaine Jones recalls her return to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Elaine Jones describes her civil rights work in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Elaine Jones remembers prioritizing the appointment of black federal judges

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Elaine Jones recalls desegregating the federal judiciary

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Elaine Jones recalls lobbying to preserve the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Elaine Jones talks about lobbying to renew the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Elaine Jones recalls key players in the 1982 Amendments of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Elaine Jones recalls how the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. was funded

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Elaine Jones reflects upon her disappointments as a civil rights lobbyist

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Elaine Jones talks about the extensions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Elaine Jones talks about the politics of racial separation

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Elaine Jones recalls becoming president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Elaine Jones recalls becoming president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., pt.2

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Elaine Jones descirbes Julius Chambers' presidency of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Elaine Jones describes her organizational changes to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Elaine Jones talks about her deputy, Theodore Shaw

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Elaine Jones reflects upon the achievements of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 10 Story: 10 - Elaine Jones recalls how conservative organizations mimicked her political strategies

Tape: 10 Story: 11 - Elaine Jones describes the structure of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 10 Story: 12 - Elaine Jones describes the case of Gratz v. Bollinger, 2003

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Elaine Jones talks about freeing Kemba Smith

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Elaine Jones recalls how she learned about Kemba Smith

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Elaine Jones talks about the continuing relevance of civil rights issues

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Elaine Jones describes her current role at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Elaine Jones reflects upon her career and awards

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Elaine Jones describes her plans for her retirement

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Elaine Jones describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Elaine Jones reflects upon her legacy

DASession

1$2

DATape

3$7

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Elaine Jones recalls her decision to pursue a law career, pt.1
Elaine Jones describes the cases of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
Transcript
Now I want to go back to the dentist though. What did the --?$$Yeah. So the dentist--so mother [Estelle Campbell Jones] and daddy [George Raymond Jones] pay the bill. They tacked the notice on the door. When the notice came my father looked at it and said, "I am not--"; had the date on it. "I am not going to lose my trip to California on a--," he had a special trip to take to California on the railroad--, "to go down to this court." And mamma said "I'm going to school. I'm going to school so Elaine [HistoryMaker Elaine Jones], you have a problem." Said, "God look at these people, why don't they understand?" You know my brother [George Daniel Jones] and I would often say parents, "Y'all be the parents. Don't make us the parents. I'm a child. I don't know. You--." So daddy said, "What I will do--," there was a person who worked with him, an African American male who worked with daddy on different things. They did flowers or flants- plants. Now he said, "I'll send Mr. Newkirk [ph.] down there with you, but you just have to go down there and explain to the judge that your mother and I are working and tell them whatever it is you did."$$Because it was clear that you had done it. You had done--$$Oh I, oh, oh I had gone. I, no, there's no doubt, there is no doubt about that, that I had gone to the dentist without permission. There's no doubt about it. And they weren't paying it. So what I'm gonna do? I didn't have $25 or $20, whatever it was. So Mr. Newkirk and I go down to the courthouse on the day, on the appointed day and here I am scared to death. Scared to death. They called the case. The dentist is not there, the dentist's lawyer is there. The judge is up there. So I had--the judge asked me that, you know what happened. I told him I had gone to the dentist, blah, blah. So he said to me, he said to me, he said--first the lawyer spoke and said what we owed him, that I had come to the dentist and all and the judge looked at me and said, "Did your, did you have your parents' permission to go to the dentist?" And I said to myself--this all went through my mind in a matter of seconds. I said if I tell him yes, I had the--my parents' permission, it makes me look more obedient and more like a child in control of her senses. If I tell him no, you know I didn't have my parents' permission, it makes me look like I'm belligerent and wayward and do what I want to do. I said, "It makes me in a bad light if to tell this man no." But then the voice--I got a few seconds to answer. The voice says to me, "Tell the truth. Got to tell the truth. Can't stay up here and lie." And I said, "No, your honor I didn't." He said, "You didn't have your parents' per-." I said, "No, sir." He turned to the dentist's lawyer and said, "Does your client have the habit of doing full mouth x-rays of eight and ten year old who comes into their office without checking with parents? If that is his practice then he needs to change it. Case dismissed!" Oh, so Elaine's first victory. You know I was amazed. I said, "You know truth will carry you a long way. It will carry you a long way." If I had tried to make myself look good and not told the truth, I would have lost the case on a lie. Would have lost the case on a lie. So I came home and explained it to--they all celebrated, the family--we all, the whole family celebrated. "Elaine won." Told everybody at school, "Elaine won her case." So then I said, "I'm gonna be a lawyer. That's what I'm gonna do."$How were they processing, you know, all these requests, you know (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) You know--$$I mean I often--$$--there are some great books on this thing, but you know 'cause Connie Motley [Constance Baker Motley] in her book ['Equal Justice Under Law: An Autobiography'], great autobiography, explains how she got the James Meredith case, 'cause Thurgood [Thurgood Marshall] got this letter from this young man who said he wanted to desegregate the University of Mississippi's school, the college, University of Mississippi [Oxford, Mississippi]. And Thurgood said, "This is somebody who's lost his mind," (laughter) when he read the letter, "Somebody who's lost his mind." Told Connie Motley, "See what you can do with this." And so that's what ended Connie Motley with twenty-two trips to Mississippi in eighteen months. She became very close to Medgar Evers. He met her at the airport in Jackson [Mississippi] every time. Got to Motley. She took her son there once and he played with the kids and she pointed out to Medgar, "Medgar those bushes on your house, you need to cut those bushes down." So she knew Medgar well, and she was stunned that he was assassinated, which they got this admission right during this period, '63 [1963]. So it was, it was, you know--but that's how she got the case, 'cause Thurgood said, "This is somebody that lost their mind so see what you can do." They were inundated with cases. I mean, I just look at Judge Motley from '61 [1961] until she left the Legal Defense Fund [NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.] in '65 [1965], four years. She had ten [U.S.] Supreme Court arguments. She had twenty-two trips to Mississippi, she had University of Florida [Gainesville, Florida]. She had the Florida higher education cases, elementary, secondary and higher education cases. She had University of Alabama [Tuscaloosa, Alabama], she had the University of Georgia [Athens, Georgia], University of South Carolina [Columbia, South Carolina]; she had all that litigation. I mean that's just one--that's her schedule, you know. You had Bob Carter [HistoryMaker Robert L. Carter], and there were all of the issues trying to take the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] out of existence: in Virginia, in Alabama, they were trying to you know say that the NAACP couldn't exist as an organization 'cause it wasn't an advocacy organization, it was a political entity. You know, they want the membership lists and all of this kind of stuff. I mean those people, I look and I think about their litigation schedules and I just don't see how they did it, as I sit here now. Now I'm used to being busy and LDF in my day, you know, we--those lawyers, you know, we put some time in. But those lawyers in the '40s [1940s] and '50s [1950s], 'cause I just, I just marvel at it.

Constance Rice

Activist lawyer Constance L. Rice was born on April 5, 1956, in Washington, D.C., to Anna L. Barnes Rice, a science teacher, and Phillip Leon Rice, a colonel in the United States Air Force. Growing up abroad, Rice attended the Town and Country School in London and graduated from the Universal City High School in Texas in 1974. Rice received her B.A. degree in government from Harvard University in 1978. In 1980, Rice won a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and was awarded the Root Tilden Public Interest Scholarship to New York University School of Law from which she earned her J.D. degree in 1984. Rice served as a law clerk for the State of New York Department of Law in 1982; was mentored by Lani Guinier of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in 1983; and from 1984 to 1986, served as law clerk for the Honorable Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Detroit, Michigan.

From 1986 to 1987, Rice served as an associate attorney for Morrison and Foster in San Francisco, California. In 1987, Rice served as special assistant to the associate vice chancellor of the University of California at Los Angeles. Rice served as the president of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power from 1990 to 1995. In 1990, Rice joined the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in Los Angeles as western regional counsel; she was involved in the NAACP’s unsuccessful fight against California Proposition 209; the freeing of Black Panther Geronimo Pratt with the assistance of Johnnie Cochran; and the defense of Riverside police officer Rene Rodriguez. In 1998, Rice helped found the firm of English, Munger and Rice with her law partner, Molly Munger. Rice also co-founded and served as co-director of the Advancement Project, a public policy legal action organization. In 1999, Rice launched a coalition lawsuit that won $750 million for new school construction in Los Angeles. Up to the date of her interview, Rice had won $15 billion worth of injunctive relief and damages for multi-racial coalitions of lawyers and clients.

In 2000, Rice was named one of California’s top 10 most influential lawyers by California LawBusiness. In 2003, Rice received an honorary doctorate from Occidental College, and in 2004, was presented the Women Lawyers of Los Angeles Ernestine Stahlhut Award. Rice appeared on The Tavis Smiley Show, Nightline, The Oprah Winfrey Show, ABC’s This Week and dozens of radio and television talk shows.

Accession Number

A2005.232

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/5/2005 |and| 4/28/2011

Last Name

Rice

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Organizations
Schools

Universal City High School

Radcliffe College

New York University School of Law

First Name

Constance

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

RIC11

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Ariel Capital Management

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

Life Is Short.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

4/5/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chinese, Indian, Soul Food

Short Description

Nonprofit chief executive and civil rights lawyer Constance Rice (1956 - ) cofounded the law firm of English, Munger and Rice, and was the cofounder and director of the Advancement Project, a public policy legal action organization. She won over $15 billion in injunctive relief and damages for multiracial coalitions of lawyers and clients.

Employment

NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Lavender

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Constance Rice's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Constance Rice lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Constance Rice describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Constance Rice describes her maternal grandfather, Jess Barnes, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Constance Rice describes her maternal grandfather, Jess Barnes, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Constance Rice describes her mother, Anna Barnes Rice

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Constance Rice describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Constance Rice reflects upon her mixed-race heritage

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Constance Rice reflects upon the impact of slavery on white slave owners

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Constance Rice recalls her paternal family's work ethic

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Constance Rice recalls her paternal family's pride

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Constance Rice describes her father, Phillip Rice, Sr.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Constance Rice describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Constance Rice describes her parents' personalities and her likeness to them

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Constance Rice describes her earliest childhood memory.

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Constance Rice remembers moving frequently as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Constance Rice describes her academics at Shaker Heights High School

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Constance Rice reflects upon the value of education in the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Constance Rice describes dysfunctional poverty

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Constance Rice describes the sights and smells of her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Constance Rice explains how she reconciles the ideals of the United States with its horrific past

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Constance Rice describes herself as a young girl

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Constance Rice describes the range of schools she attended as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Constance Rice remembers her favorite teachers in school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Constance Rice reflects upon the impact of the Jewish community on her life

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of Constance Rice's interview, session 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Constance Rice remembers applying to colleges

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Constance Rice recalls her aspirations upon entering Radcliffe College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Constance Rice remembers her female role models

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Constance Rice talks about the methods and effectiveness of social movements

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Constance Rice describes the powerful alumni of Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Constance Rice describes her education at Radcliffe College and Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Constance Rice remembers her professors at Radcliffe College and Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Constance Rice remembers learning taekwondo, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Constance Rice remembers learning taekwondo, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Constance Rice remembers working in admissions at Harvard University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Constance Rice remembers learning about slavery from Orlando Patterson at Radcliffe College and Harvard University

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Constance Rice describes her education at Radcliffe College and Harvard University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Constance Rice remembers her social life at Radcliffe College and Harvard University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Constance Rice describes her work as a Harvard University admissions officer

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Constance Rice remembers a special application to Harvard University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Constance Rice explains why she wanted to attend law school

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Constance Rice remembers applying to New York University School of Law

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Constance Rice remembers debating Martin L. Kilson, Jr. on affirmative action

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Constance Rice remembers school desegregation in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Constance Rice explains how she succeeded at New York University School of Law, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Constance Rice explains how she succeeded at New York University School of Law, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Constance Rice remembers working for the State of New York attorney general's office

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Constance Rice explains the challenges of civil rights law

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Constance Rice remembers working for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Constance Rice remembers working on death row cases for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Constance Rice describes the Baldus Study on racial disparity in sentencing

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Constance Rice remembers working on the McCleskey v. Kemp, 1987 case

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Constance Rice reflects upon her experience with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund

DASession

2$2

DATape

6$6

DAStory

4$8

DATitle
Constance Rice explains the challenges of civil rights law
Constance Rice remembers working on the McCleskey v. Kemp, 1987 case
Transcript
My second year [at New York University School of Law, New York, New York] was really when I took off, and I decided that law teaches you how to preserve existing power. Law is a system for allocating rights, for allocating responsibilities, for allocating liability for mistakes, for insuring expectations under contracts; it's a system for passing power through property ownership and for retaining property. It is a system that is developed by the upper echelon to preserve its controls. It is a system of controls for different areas of public and private life; and so, it's an ordering system. When you have an ordering system it's not there to change things, it's there to keep things the same. It's there to maintain what exists and to give enough room to vindicate rights but that's not what the system exists for. So as a civil rights lawyer you're coming into a system and you are there to learn how to give voice to people who have none and the levers of power in these systems that they're excluded from which means you're not there to preserve what exists, you are there to learn how to use these levers to produce what should be. To take what exists and to turn it into what should be, it's jujitsu. You take the negative energy of what exists and you flip it in to positive energy of what should exist. So if a system excludes your people or your clients you have to open that system up. The law gives you a whole toolbox to do that and when I went through every single course, this was a mistake that I think a lot of human rights and civil rights lawyers make, I understood that every course was important because just like the undergraduate courses every single area of law gives you a different tool. One gives you brackets, one gives you a wrench, one gives you a blow torch, one gives you--contracts are like brackets it puts constraints so that you can realize expectations. You see how in the different areas of law different kinds of rights are protected. How are property protected versus human rights? How are commercial rights protected versus entertainment expectation--in the entertainment world what is the intellectual property system of protecting expectations and ownership? How do you own ideas? So every single area gave me a whole new way of cornering my opponents and my adversaries or blocking them in and making sure I opened up passages for my clients. And in fact, I discovered that the protections under human rights law were some of the weakest. We protect contracts--expectations under contracts more carefully than we protect children. So if I'm a juvenile justice lawyer, which I am, I needed to transfer the contractual protections into the juvenile rights area because it's a tougher system. The standard for defeating a contract that you've signed is that you have to show that you've done everything humanly possible to carry out that contract and to meet your obligations under that contract. In civil rights if the state doesn't have enough money to pay for cells that don't violate the Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment prohibition very few federal courts will force the state to cough up the money. So human rights don't have the backing--same kind of backing they've got razor teeth to protect in contract law and I learned those constraints and how you transfer contracts protection into civil rights protection through the consent decree process because a consent decree is a contract. So, the whole body of law and the whole system of protections changes.$And we tried the case [McCleskey v. Kemp, 1987]. We--there was a defendant, Warren McCleskey, who murdered a police officer in a furniture robbery and police officer was white, it wasn't the most likely case to attach the study to but I can't remember why our bosses chose that case as the vehicle for testing this study. But we tested this study in Judge Forrester's [J. Owen Forrester] courtroom in the Northern District of Fulton County in Fulton County, Northern District of Atlanta [Georgia] and that was the next--we had to prepare that study for the trial. We had to prepare the lawyers for all the hearsay and evidentiary because the prosecutors who were fighting us were saying exclude the study, you shouldn't even have a hearing on it, the study is irrelevant execute this man. So we had a war to fight in the Georgia courts and it was over getting the McCleskey study before a federal judge to have the question of does Georgia deal the death card on the basis of race. Does it hand out capital punishment sentences on the basis of race in an unconstitutional way? The answer was yes and we had the get that study with that proof before a court and that hearing was an historic hearing and Julia Boez [ph.] and Iye [Iye Yorokuma (ph.)] and I had the privilege of preparing that study so that it could be gone through an evidentiary hearing. We were preparing all of the evidentiary objections making sure that we could get the study into evidence because your opposition is fighting to keep the study out of evidence so it can't be considered. Our job was to make sure it got considered and that an opinion came out and evaluated what does this mean for the constitutionality of our client's sentence and what does it mean more importantly for American capital punishment. So as Tony Amsterdam [Anthony G. Amsterdam] one of the smartest and he's a genius in terms of legal constitutional law who is also at NYU [New York University School of Law, New York, New York] now was at Stanford [Stanford Law School, Stanford, California]. Jim Liebman [James S. Liebman] who was also a constitutional scholar and was one of the lawyers at LDF [NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.] when I was a student there, all of them said that the McCleskey case would end up being one of the cornerstones of dismantling capital punishment. Now at the time of course we knew we weren't going to win this case but it had to be presented in the best way and it had to be done by the best lawyers and LDF did a fantastic job. Jack Boger [John Charles Boger] and Tim Ford [Timothy Ford] were part of that team and Julia and I were the two law students who lived down there with our male bosses in a condo. We were down there for six weeks, we would do the hearing in the day and at night we'd have to right petitions to save our clients because the Georgia prosecutors gave every single one of our clients an expedited death date because we were doing this hearing. So we had to write petitions at night, sleep for a couple of hours, get up and do the hearing, race down to the prison, talk to our clients, get the papers approved, file the papers so we were doing both capital punishment death row defense to keep our clients out of the electric chair in Georgia, as well as doing the McCleskey hearing at the same time.

Lynn Jones Huntley

Activist attorney Lynn Jones Huntley was born on January 24, 1946, in Petersberg, Virginia, to theologian Lawrence Neale Jones and Mary Ellen Cooley Jones. Huntley began school in Baumholder, Germany, and later attended schools in Oberlin, Ohio, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Haven Connecticut, and Nashville, Tennessee. Huntley entered college at Fisk University as an early entrant, and later earned her A.B. degree in sociology with honors from Barnard College. Huntley was the first African American female editor of the Columbia Law Review; she graduated cum laude from Columbia Law School with her J.D. degree in 1970.

After law school, Huntley clerked for Judge Constance Baker Motley in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Joining the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in 1971, Huntley served as staff attorney and participated in the defense of prisoners involved in the Attica Prison uprising. Huntley also helped write the winning brief in Furman v. Georgia, in which the U.S. Supreme Court declared the death penalty to be cruel and unusual punishment within the meaning of the eighth and fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Huntley later secured executive clemency for noted human and prisoner rights activist Martin Sostre.

From 1973 to 1975, Huntley served as general counsel to the New York State Commission on Human Rights. In l978, Huntley joined the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division where she served as Section Chief and acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General. From 1982 to 1995, Huntley worked at the Ford Foundation as Program Officer, and Deputy and Director of the Rights and Social Justice Program; the Program had a core biennial budget of $44 million which funded efforts related to minority rights and opportunities; legal services for the poor; women’s rights, both domestic and international; minorities and communications; and Black church secular service delivery efforts.

In 1995, Huntley joined the Southern Education Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia, to direct the Comparative Human Relations Initiative; a study of race, poverty and inequality in Brazil, South Africa, and the United States. Huntley became the president of the Southern Education Foundation in 2002, the South’s only African American lead and directed public charity, which focused on improving education for low income students, from preschool through higher education.

Huntley serves as a board member of the American Constitution Society, CARE USA, Grantmakers for Education, the Georgia Student Finance Commission, and the Interdenominational Theological Seminary. Huntley is the recipient of the first Thurgood Marshall Award from the Association of the Board of New York, and the Lucy Terry Prince Award of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, among other honors. Huntley co-edited with Charles V. Hamilton and others Beyond Racism: Embracing an Interdependent Future in 2000, and Beyond Racism: Race and Equality in Brazil, South Africa and the United States in 2001.

Lynn Jones Huntley passed away on August 30, 2015, at the age of 69.

Accession Number

A2005.207

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/26/2005 |and| 12/14/2005

Last Name

Huntley

Maker Category
Middle Name

Jones

Schools

Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School

Fisk University

Barnard College

Columbia Law School

First Name

Lynn

Birth City, State, Country

Petersberg

HM ID

HUN04

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

May My Enemies Live Long So That They May Know My Victory.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

1/24/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Barbecue

Death Date

8/30/2015

Short Description

Foundation executive and civil rights lawyer Lynn Jones Huntley (1946 - 2015 ) was president of the Southern Education Foundation, the American South’s only African American-led public charity.

Employment

Ford Foundation

Southern Education Foundation

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

New York City Commission on Human Rights

United States Department of Justice

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

Cravath, Swaine & Moore

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:300,7:1700,29:2790,38:6010,82:6930,95:11770,152:12810,167:14970,229:15770,242:16250,249:18970,301:22330,373:26020,398:26332,403:27736,422:28282,431:29062,442:29452,448:29842,454:31012,479:32884,507:33196,512:39840,620:41152,642:45908,753:46564,762:47712,778:48286,787:54846,922:58618,1004:59028,1010:67070,1053:70391,1101:75895,1165:76685,1180:78186,1212:80082,1257:80635,1269:81188,1288:82926,1329:83242,1334:83874,1342:84506,1351:85612,1391:86086,1399:90390,1419:91110,1430:99350,1575:100070,1587:111968,1710:112891,1726:113743,1763:114027,1768:115092,1788:129040,1989:130063,2001:133783,2089:134155,2094:139494,2146:140126,2155:140442,2160:140758,2165:141785,2179:142496,2189:144076,2216:146810,2229:152744,2325:153174,2331:153862,2341:154550,2350:158162,2432:158764,2440:165070,2475:166270,2494:166910,2504:167550,2515:168110,2527:169950,2538$0,0:300,15:2700,69:4350,90:4875,100:8250,184:8550,189:10800,256:11175,262:11925,274:21102,349:21962,366:22564,374:22994,380:24026,430:24456,436:25316,454:25832,461:29788,538:30304,545:33486,587:34088,595:38732,680:48468,733:50925,762:52540,790:53220,799:56143,818:56746,829:57215,837:57751,847:58421,862:60766,907:66816,1010:67248,1019:68328,1049:68760,1057:71136,1104:72504,1126:73008,1135:73584,1145:74952,1170:75456,1179:76248,1193:80136,1278:80856,1298:82008,1321:82296,1326:82872,1341:83880,1366:84672,1382:99752,1622:100256,1631:100832,1641:101840,1699:108886,1767:109498,1777:111674,1836:111946,1841:112286,1848:112558,1853:114924,1879:115704,1894:117342,1926:119412,1943:128000,2071:136272,2119:137100,2131:139222,2156:141598,2209:142984,2249:143908,2266:144370,2274:144700,2280:149840,2316:150225,2322:150841,2333:151765,2348:152381,2356:153536,2399:156539,2452:160924,2485:161470,2493:162328,2513:164430,2537:167566,2577:171976,2643:174490,2649:181300,2727:182188,2742:182706,2752:183964,2776:187402,2798:188068,2808:188586,2817:191200,2843:191614,2850:192097,2858:192994,2878:194788,2914:195478,2926:195961,2936:200427,2984:201595,3005:204880,3061:205172,3066:206851,3096:207362,3105:208165,3121:208457,3126:215712,3209:216304,3219:217710,3247:221336,3314:222076,3325:222668,3338:223704,3363:228515,3401:229440,3416
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lynn Jones Huntley's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lynn Jones Huntley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her mother's family history, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her maternal great-grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her mother's family history, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her father's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her father's siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her father's background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her father's background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her father's ministry education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her father's ministry

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her father's mentees and denomination

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes how she resembles her parents, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes how she resembles her parents, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her brother, Rodney Bruce Jones

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lynn Jones Huntley recalls cleaning the Fisk University girls' dormitories

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her elementary school in Moundsville, West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her education, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her education, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lynn Jones Huntley recalls civil rights activities at Fisk University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lynn Jones Huntley remembers the March on Washington in 1963

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her two years at Fisk University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her time at Barnard College in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her time at Columbia Law School, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her time at Columbia Law School, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her experience in corporate law

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes interviewing for federal clerkships

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her clerkship with Constance Baker Motley

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes clerking for Constance Baker Motley, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes clerking for Constance Baker Motley, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes Sostre v. McGinnis, 1971

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes joining the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her work with NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her involvement in Martin Sostre's clemency campaign

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes Martin Sostre

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her work on death penalty cases

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes clemency for Wilbert Lee and Freddie Pitts

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lynn Jones Huntley talks about the U.S. criminal justice system

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lynn Jones Huntley shares her stance on the death penalty

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her stint at New York City Commission on Human Rights

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes the conditions of Georgia State Prison, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes the conditions of Georgia State Prison, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes the conditions of Georgia State Prison, pt. 3

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Lynn Jones Huntley recalls being saved by a death row prisoner

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her work for the U.S. Department of Justice, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her work for the U.S. Department of Justice, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Lynn Jones Huntley's interview, session 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her transition to the Ford Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her work at the Ford Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her work at the Ford Foundation to support black churches

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her work at the Ford Foundation to support minority media projects

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes supporting civil rights through her work at the Ford Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her international activism with the Ford Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Lynn Jones Huntley recalls her experience in South Africa

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes the Comparative Human Relations Initiative, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Lynn Jones Huntley talks about her interest in Brazil

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes the Comparative Human Relations Initiative, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes the Southern Education Foundation, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes the Southern Education Foundation, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes Southern Education Foundation's response to Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes Morris Brown College's loss of accreditation

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes Southern Education Foundation's Miles to Go program

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes Southern Education Foundation's preschool initiatives

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes the Education Summers Youth Leadership Initiative

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Lynn Jones Huntley remembers Constance Baker Motley

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Lynn Jones Huntley reflects upon her career

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her family

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Lynn Jones Huntley talks about sharing her story

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Lynn Jones Huntley reflects upon her life

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Lynn Jones Huntley shares her advice for aspiring law professionals

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Lynn Jones Huntley describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Lynn Jones Huntley reflects upon her legacy, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Lynn Jones Huntley reflects upon her legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Lynn Jones Huntley narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Lynn Jones Huntley narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$8

DATitle
Lynn Jones Huntley describes Sostre v. McGinnis, 1971
Lynn Jones Huntley recalls being saved by a death row prisoner
Transcript
It was also during my tenure with her that a case, a landmark case that shaped my life and the course of jurisprudence as it relates to prison and jail litigation was decided. Judge Motley [Constance Baker Motley] had, the year before I had worked with her, decided [sic. heard] a case called Sostre versus McGinnis [Sostre v. McGinnis, 1971], Martin Sostre, S-O-S-T-R-E, versus McGinnis. And in that case, she had held that the conditions under which this prisoner, who was a black Puerto Rican man, had been incarcerated in the state prisons of New York [New York State Correctional Facilities], was cruel and usual punishment within the meaning of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the [U.S.] Constitution. They had literally kept Sostre in solitary confinement for almost a year. They'd given him no blankets. They had him defecating in a hole. I mean he had really suffered. And he refused--it all arose because he had written a letter and the warden demanded to know his, Sostre was a black nationalist. The warden demanded to know, what did the letters RNA that he had put on the bottom of the letter mean. And Sostre had said something like, Republican New Administration, which made them furious. Well, Sostre was in because at the time of the Buffalo [New York] riots in '68 [sic. 1967], he had had the only African American bookstore [Afro-Asian Bookstore] in the City of Buffalo, and he was accused of having fomented the Buffalo riots. And, and a particular guy claimed that he had bought heroin from Sostre in the bookstore. Sostre maintained that he was being framed by the authorities, but he refused to defend himself at the trial. He had, he had no counsel. He called the judge, Mad--Dog Marshall [Frederick M. Marshall] and that this was a lynching court, and he was not going to defend himself. He didn't put on a single witness. They sentenced him to, he was fifty-four years old at the time, they sentenced him to, I don't know, it was like ten consecutive sentences. He would never get out of prison is the point, never get out of prison. On each count he was--so Judge Motley, by handing down this decision that this controversial political prisoner had, as he called himself, had been treated in a cruel and inhuman equivalent of torture in a U.S. prison, was a landmark, the first major big prisoner rights case. And it was up on appeal when I came in as her law clerk, and it was decided while I was her law clerk. And it really changed the course of prison and jail reform litigation.$Now my life, I think, was saved by a death row prisoner. This is an interesting tidbit. This is a white man. His name was Troy [Leon] Gregg. He was one of the lead plaintiffs in a case called Gregg versus Georgia [Gregg v. Georgia, 1976], in which the death penalty was upheld with standards, and this must have been in 1976. Troy Gregg was on death row at the Georgia State Prison [Reidsville, Georgia]. He was in there, I think because of felony murder situation. Meaning that he, that he and somebody else had robbed, the other person killed whoever it was, but Gregg was held equally liable for the death as the one who pulled the trigger, and so he also got the death sentence. He was a poor, low income guy, lived in a trailer, and sort of fit the stereotype of the, the poor southern white. But he was willing to testify about the harassment and treatment of black inmates on death row, and also about the conditions of confinement under which he suffered. I'll skip to the chase. On the day before a hearing that we were going to have on conditions of confinement and death row, I had insisted to the judge that the death row prisoners be transferred from the prison to the courthouse in, in order to have the hearing, that it was inherently coercive to have this hearing at the prison, and that they, like everyone else, should be brought to the court. And the court had ruled with me, although the defendants sorely objected. So we had the hearing. And but, before the hearing, Troy Gregg told me he said, "Listen, Lynn [HistoryMaker Lynn Jones Huntley]," he said, "I know that they're planning to take the death row prisoners to the courthouse--to Tattnall County [Georgia] courthouse." I said, "Yes." He said, "Well, I'm going to tell you something that could get me killed if it got out," he said, "But you seem like a nice person, and I know you're just trying to help us." And I said, "Really, what is it?" He said, "Don't take the death sentence prisoners to Tattnall County." He said, "Something is going to jump off, and you could be really hurt." And so I took his advice, I went back to the court, said I changed my mind in view of their delays and blah, blah, I would have the hearing for the death sentence prisoners at the Georgia State Prison. Fast forward it's now four years later, I'm working in the justice department [U.S. Department of Justice] in Washington [D.C.] again in a trial section involving prison and jail litigation. I'm reading Corrections [Today] magazine one night, and there is an article: Troy Gregg and two other inmates had escaped from prison, from death row, and he was found murdered and drowned in a pond not too far from the prison. Now I don't know whether he was part of a conspiracy to escape at that time or not, but something tells me that when he told me that that's exactly what he was doing. That he knew, although he was under sentence of death, or life in prison, will never get out, that he saw something in me as a person and his humanity was touched, and he told me the word that perhaps had kept me from being in harm's way. So that shows you the complexity of doing this work. These are human beings and they have faces and voices and handwritings and names and not all of them are the, the vicious animals that we are portraying them to be. Many are people who have simply gone the wrong way, and it's a vicious system.

Shirley Jean Wilcher

Affirmative action specialist Shirley Jean Wilcher was born July 28, 1951, in Erie, Pennsylvania. Raised by her grandmother and her uncle Marcus, Wilcher attended Lane Elementary School and West Junior High School in Akron, Ohio. After moving to Boston, Wilcher attended Patrick T. Campbell Junior High and eventually graduated from Girls Latin High School in 1969. Mt. Holyoke College presented Wilcher with the opportunity to live in Paris, where she was influenced by the work of Franz Fanon. Graduating in 1973 with her B.A. degree in French and philosophy, Wilcher earned her M.A. degree in urban policy and policy analysis from the New School for Social Research in 1976. Wilcher spent 1977 and 1978 with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in New York and San Francisco during the Allen Bakke Case. Wilcher, who would go on to earn certificates in alternate dispute resolution, diversity training, and labor arbitration, was awarded her J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1979.

A staff attorney for Proskauer Rose Goetz and Mendelsohn in 1979, Wilcher moved on to serve as staff attorney at the National Women’s Law Center from 1980 to 1985. From 1985 to 1990, Wilcher served as associate counsel for civil rights for the House Committee on Education and Labor investigating civil rights cases at OEO and various government agencies. Wilcher was director for State Relations and general counsel for the National Association for Independent Colleges and Universities from 1990 to 1994. From 1994 to 2001, Wilcher served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration where she won $275 million for women, minorities, people with disabilities, and veterans. From 2001 to 2003, Wilcher was executive director of Americans for a Fair Chance, a consortium of six civil rights legal organizations that was formed to serve as an educational resource and advocate for affirmative action; in 2003, the United States Supreme Court upheld affirmative action. In 2001, Wilcher formed Wilcher Global LLC to help organizations reach diversity goals.

A twenty year veteran of legal affirmative action battles, Wilcher received the NAACP Benjamin Hooks Award, the Keeper of the Flame Award, and the American Association for Affirmative Action’s Rosa Parks Award in 2004.

Accession Number

A2005.154

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/29/2005

Last Name

Wilcher

Maker Category
Middle Name

Jean

Occupation
Schools

Lane Elementary School

West Junior High School

Martin Luther King, Jr. K-8 Inclusion School

Boston Latin Academy

Mount Holyoke College

New School University

Harvard Law School

First Name

Shirley

Birth City, State, Country

Erie

HM ID

WIL26

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

No One Will Save Us But Us.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

7/28/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chocolate Cake

Short Description

Civil rights lawyer Shirley Jean Wilcher (1951 - ) was the founder, president and CEO of Wilcher Global, L.L.C.

Employment

United States Department of Labor

NAACP Legal Defense Fund

National Women's Law Center

Proskauer Rose Goetz and Mendelson

House Committee on Education and Labor

National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

Wilcher Global LLC

Favorite Color

Turquoise

Timing Pairs
0,0:1694,20:5929,105:6776,118:7238,125:7700,133:8547,145:9240,156:9779,164:10087,169:10780,179:16134,231:16692,238:17994,254:20045,263:20735,275:22943,314:23288,320:24323,342:24668,348:25082,355:28029,365:35269,502:36116,515:37040,530:38426,551:38734,556:39350,566:39889,575:40351,583:40736,590:43739,635:44124,641:45048,656:52209,792:52825,800:57254,808:59078,847:59876,871:60446,884:61415,906:61700,912:66668,958:67046,965:67487,974:67739,979:70952,1048:71582,1061:72212,1072:75664,1108:76348,1122:76956,1134:77792,1147:84938,1226:85682,1234:90734,1301:95766,1409:97246,1440:104032,1501:108333,1567:109278,1601:113358,1641:117472,1682:118201,1693:118606,1699:119011,1705:121522,1739:122008,1746:127678,1863:129055,1921:129784,1931:132052,1957:132943,1969:137634,2013:138066,2021:138354,2026:138930,2036:140010,2056:141738,2081:142386,2092:145554,2169:149720,2204:150760,2226:151085,2232:152190,2244:152905,2257:157725,2345:159090,2372:166895,2491:167350,2501:168195,2520:168520,2526:168845,2532:169430,2542:169690,2547:170340,2561:170860,2571:173470,2578:176320,2626:177080,2635:181484,2680:182324,2693:182660,2698:183248,2706:188120,2818:188456,2823:189380,2849:192908,2913:193412,2932:194084,2941:203950,3098:204242,3103:205800,3114$0,0:21888,413:22344,424:23940,455:31610,534:36870,597:37845,625:41370,693:42645,770:43170,779:43695,787:48945,883:49845,898:56753,961:57257,972:57824,983:58076,988:58706,999:59273,1011:59903,1022:61163,1057:61730,1070:68377,1125:72795,1196:73185,1203:77410,1291:78840,1319:80205,1357:88305,1443:88816,1451:93050,1536:95240,1579:96043,1591:101853,1637:102456,1648:103193,1659:103461,1667:106878,1743:108620,1775:109558,1794:110295,1808:115671,1847:116335,1858:116667,1863:118244,1888:131568,2141:132132,2148:133354,2164:138154,2225:143236,2289:144260,2313:144900,2325:149400,2366:150140,2380:153248,2445:153766,2453:154062,2458:156948,2505:165904,2585:166960,2601:169136,2616:171530,2672:172034,2681:173483,2718:175625,2755:176507,2773:179040,2783:180404,2827:181396,2847:181954,2859:182512,2870:189434,2965:190649,2982:213328,3403:218949,3520:220701,3548:223183,3605:229380,3636:229924,3646:230196,3651:231148,3670:231692,3680:233800,3729:234480,3740:235296,3756:235772,3765:236112,3771:240910,3872
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Shirley Jean Wilcher's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Shirley Jean Wilcher lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her family's agricultural background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her mother, Jeanne Evans Cheatham

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her grandfather's insurance business

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes segregation in Akron, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her parent's relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her paternal grandmother, Viola Wilcher

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her likeness to her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes her early childhood in Akron, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers moving to Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Shiley Jean Wilcher describes her hobbies as a young girl

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers her experiences with church

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers attending Boston's Patrick T. Campbell Junior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Shiley Jean Wilcher describes attending Girls Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Shiley Jean Wilcher recalls growing up during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers deciding to attend South Hadley's Mount Holyoke College

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers the impact of her trip to France

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers attending the New School for Social Research in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Shiley Jean Wilcher explains why she chose to attend Cambridge's Harvard Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Shiley Jean Wilcher reflects on the value of positive reinforcement

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers the Black Law Students' Association at Cambridge's Harvard Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers planning a third world conference at Cambridge's Harvard Law School

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Shiley Jean Wilcher reflects on the Regents of the University of California vs. Bakke decision

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers working for the Center for Law and Social Policy in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers the Reagan Administration's attack on affirmative action

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Shirley Jean Wilcher remembers the House Committee on Education and Labor's efforts to preserve affirmative action

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes the strategies used to attack affirmative action

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes working for the House Committee on Education and Labor, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Shirley Jean Wilcher describes working for the House Committee for Education and Labor, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Shirley Jean Wilcher remembers working at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Shirley Jean Wilcher remembers working for the Clinton Administration

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Shirley Jean Wilcher recalls memorable compliance reviews, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Shirley Jean Wilcher recalls memorable compliance reviews, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Shiley Jean Wilcher describes a discrimination test she used in the banking industry

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Shiley Jean Wilcher defines racism and affirmative action

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Shiley Jean Wilcher reflects on the effects of racism in the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Shiley Jean Wilcher compares her experience to HistoryMaker Arthur Fletcher

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers working for Americans for a Fair Chance

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Shiley Jean Wilcher lists her awards

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers the public support for affirmative action in 2003

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Shiley Jean Wilcher reflects on the present and future of affirmative action

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Shiley Jean Wilcher describes her firm, Wilcher Global LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Shiley Jean Wilcher describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Shiley Jean Wilcher reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Shiley Jean Wilcher describes her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Shiley Jean Wilcher reflects on her decision not to have children

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Shiley Jean Wilcher recalls her family's support

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Shiley Jean Wilcher offers advice to today's African Americans

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Shiley Jean Wilcher describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

8$4

DATitle
Shiley Jean Wilcher remembers the Reagan Administration's attack on affirmative action
Shirley Jean Wilcher describes working for the House Committee for Education and Labor, pt. 2
Transcript
But in 1981, as you mentioned, the Reagan [President Ronald Wilson Reagan] administration began, and its positions on issues such as affirmative action was clearly very different from, let's say, ours. And they made an attempt to change regulations and laws and policies in numerous ways and so in a way it was a major setback for us in the civil rights community because of who was in the White House. Fortunately, we had people like Augustus Hawkins [HistoryMaker Augustus F "Gus" Hawkins] and the Democrats in control of the House at the time so that helped to stem the tide of what I would call regression, you know, in terms of Civil Rights law and policy. In 19--I don't know if you want to go '85 [1985]--but that's when I left the Women's Law Center [Washington, D.C.] and went on Capitol Hill to work for a Augustus Hawkins who in his staff, where he was the Chair of the House Legislation and Labor committee. Now Gus, as you know, has been in public life for many years. He's in his nineties now. He had already spent twenty-eight years in the California legislature and he was the Chair of Education and Labor and a colleague of mine who worked for Gus, Ed Cooke, Edmund Cooke [ph.], who's now at a law firm here in Washington, D.C. He--The Venable firm [Veneble LLP], in fact. He hired me. He meant, I had met him at a meeting and I told well I really wanted to go on Capitol Hill and he called me and offered me a job when Mr. Hawkins became the chair of the committee, and so I started in '85 [1985] and, I must say, this will be in my book to probably, if I ever get around to writing it. My first--and I started in April and in the Summer of '85 [1985] we received a plain brown envelope on, at the Rayburn House Office Building [Washington, D.C.] and in that envelope was Ed Meese [Edwin Meese]--a hand-written version of an attempt to change Lyndon Johnson's [President Lyndon Baines Johnson] Executive Order 11246 that requires affirmative action. He wanted to essentially eliminate what we call goals and timetables. If you don't have a goal, as my colleague, Bernard Emerson [ph.] would say, "If you don't' know where you're going, any road will get you there." We need targets and goals for these affirmative programs and policies. He wanted to get rid of that because that's something the administration had wanted to do, changing the regulations or whatever. Now an executive order is simply that and it can be changed by a president at any time. The story is, however, he waited until Labor Secretary Bill Brock, was on safari in Africa before he tried to move this change through the domestic policy council and I think it was, it was an error on his part because first of all, The labor s-, most importantly, the labor s- that he was trotting on, the labor secretary's turf, Bill Brock. So he had already created a problem there, so Brock had to come back and fight it back. At the time Clarence Thomas by the way was, I think, Chair of the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission]. So and somebody, some friend in the White House managed to get this copy to us.$And one last thing that I--that, that we did was to, to do a major investigation of the [U.S.] Department of Labor; and it's--again, because we knew, we had heard that Edwin Meese was having an impact on the way the labor department enforced the executive order [Executive Order 11246], the Lyndon Johnson [President Lyndon Baines Johnson] order. See what they couldn't do by legislation, you know, it's easy to change the direction of an agency without publicizing it, so we went to every region and we learned a lot and we wrote a report some--with some help, okay; and we were about to hold a hearing and at the time the director of the agency that I ultimately led, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance [Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs], he was ready to testify because they, in his view, was opposing the- him from actually enforcing the law the way it was intended to be enforced. They forced him out, and in fact the day before the hearing, I received a call indicating that he was threatened with tax audits and a lot of other things if he didn't testify--if he testified. So, so much for that hearing; and unfortunately, I couldn't get the chairman to swear these people under oath, you know, to tell the truth, you know, the House--[U.S.] Congress does have that authority obviously to take, he didn't want to do it, he was such a gentleman, because I had heard that they, you know they were gonna lie, at the hearing about the way they were enforcing the law, but y- I, as much as I could do, I did as much as I could do. But we wrote a report that was so critical of the way the Department of Labor's agency was being run, that we said basically either the labor secretary knew what was going on and was in agreement or he didn't know and essentially he was asleep at the wheel. So when he saw a draft of that report, he came into Mr. Hawkins' office unannounced, said, "Gus [HistoryMaker Augustus F. "Gus" Hawkins]," (laughter) "we're gonna have to do something." Well, you know, once again, this is my history, I called them like I saw them, and Hawkins was wonderful because he supported us. And so before that report was finished, he had made some changes in that agency so that he would not be embarrassed, you see. So in a way it was a way of changing policy without passing any legislation, okay. So, needless to say, some of those people who are now in working other places, probably still don't like me very much. I'm not a favorite person in some, some circles, but, you know, as I said we had a job to do. Maintaining, you know, at least the legal status quo, as well as policy. Oh, they'd do things, we--they call it marginal notes. They'd send a note, a notice back to, to the field office and the policy was in the margins. That way they didn't have to go through the notice and comments process and change the regulation, you know, it was all very subtle, and somehow we'd get copies of those (laughter), those policies. Your government at work.$$Yeah, it seems those years public radio was really good at blowing the whistle on what the administration was doing--$$Um-hm.$$--to undermine many efforts of affirmative action, environmental protection, a lot of things.$$Yes.$$And I remember Reagan [President Ronald Wilson Reagan], you know, basically gutted public radio at one point too.$$Um-hm, yes. The philosophy and the process was the same in many civil rights agencies and others, 'cause you could see the similar things, the similarities in terms of things happening with other colleagues. And the other thing they did was to cut the staff dramatically. You know, there are many ways to get around having to enforce the law, and they mastered many of those techniques that it took us years to build back when we, when the Clinton [President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton] administration took over.