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Col. Will Gunn

U.S. Air Force Colonel Will A. Gunn was born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 1959. Gunn graduated with military honors with his B.S. degree in management from the United States Air Force Academy in 1980. He went on to attend Harvard Law School where he was elected president of the Harvard Law School Legal Aid Bureau and graduated cum laude with his J.D. degree in 1986. Gunn also earned his LL.M. degree in environmental law from the George Washington University School of Law. His military education included graduating from the Air Command and Staff College in 1993; the Air War College in 1999; and, Industrial College of the Armed Forces with his M.S. degree in national resource strategy in 2002.

In 1990, Gunn was appointed as a White House Fellow and Associate Director of Cabinet Affairs under President George H.W. Bush. In 2003, Gunn was named the first ever Chief Defense Counsel in the Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions. In that position, he supervised all defense activities for detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison camp selected for trial before military commissions. This was the first proceedings of this to be conducted by the United States in over sixty years. Gunn retired from the military in 2005 after more than twenty years of service and was named president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington where he led one of the largest affiliates of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

In 2008, he founded the Gunn Law Firm to provide local representation to military members and veterans in a range of administrative matters. Returning to government in 2009, Gunn was appointed General Counsel in the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. He has published articles in the Ohio Northern Law Review and the Air Force Law Review.Gunn served as chairman of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Youth at Risk. In addition, he served on the boards of Christian Service Charities and the Air Force Academy Way of Life Alumni Group.

Gunn has also received numerous awards and honors including the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau’s Outstanding Alumni Award, the Human Rights Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights, and the American Bar Association’s Outstanding Career Military Lawyer Award. In 2002, he was elected to the National Bar Association’s Military Law Section Hall of Fame. Gunn’s military honors include the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster.

Colonel Will A. Gunn was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 21, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.158

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/26/2013

7/26/2013 |and| 9/27/2019

Last Name

Gunn

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Schools

Industrial College of the Armed Forces

George Washington University

Harvard Law School

Air Force Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Will

Birth City, State, Country

Birmingham

HM ID

GUN02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

Just Do It and I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/14/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Military officer and defense lawyer Col. Will Gunn (1958 - ) is the first ever Chief Defense Counsel for the Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions.

Employment

United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Gunn Law Firm

Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington

Office of Military Communications, U.S. Department of Defense

United States Air Force

Pope Air Force Base, United States Air Force

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:3535,47:4850,54:5760,67:9127,124:10310,149:10765,155:15770,236:16225,242:20775,316:22868,351:40830,519:41220,525:42156,538:44496,577:44886,584:45276,592:45744,599:49644,643:50112,651:56100,692:56440,698:56984,709:60370,743:60882,752:62098,771:62674,782:63506,809:63762,814:64914,838:65234,844:65746,855:66322,866:66706,873:67602,891:67922,897:70960,918:71325,924:71690,930:72055,939:73004,960:74980,987:75540,996:75860,1001:77860,1071:82740,1136:84260,1162:84660,1168:86420,1198:86740,1203:88100,1231:91460,1239:92090,1248:92720,1257:93980,1275:94970,1285:96500,1307:97850,1333:98210,1338:98930,1348:102080,1385:106300,1392:109704,1437:110164,1443:110716,1451:111544,1461:112096,1468:112648,1475:115860,1499:116685,1511:117885,1532:120360,1573:121935,1613:122610,1622:123660,1644:125385,1671:125835,1678:127860,1706:128535,1717:128835,1728:134107,1763:134545,1770:135056,1779:138779,1840:139436,1852:142940,1920:144765,1960:145714,1978:146882,1997:148342,2030:157300,2094:161170,2175$0,0:8966,131:9396,137:38060,501:39820,540:43420,616:56138,757:57178,774:57802,780:78292,1024:86660,1107:94260,1246:97140,1293:97540,1299:98580,1314:99540,1330:100020,1343:109001,1432:122618,1643:142326,1908:166612,2240:170512,2306:170824,2311:177134,2366:188722,2486:198116,2642:200195,2682:221930,3014:231355,3090:271800,3590:272265,3596:273939,3616:279320,3657
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Will Gunn's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Will Gunn lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Will Gunn describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Will Gunn talks about the significance of Lowndes County as the Black Belt of Alabama and for the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Will Gunn talks about his maternal grandparents' jobs

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about his mother's growing up in Birmingham, Alabama and her career in social services

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about his family's move to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1962

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Will Gunn describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Will Gunn talks about his father's growing up in Opelika, Alabama, his education at Miles College, and his profession as a teacher

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Will Gunn describes how his parents met, married and moved the family to Fort Lauderdale

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Will Gunn describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Will Gunn describes his family's road trip the summer of 1967, and his inspiration to become a lawyer

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Will Gunn talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Will Gunn describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Will Gunn talks about his childhood home and neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Will Gunn describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Will Gunn talks about going to Dania Beach, Florida as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Will Gunn describes his experience in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Will Gunn talks about his family's involvement in Greater New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about why he aspired to become a lawyer

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about his interests as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Will Gunn recalls the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Will Gunn describes his experience in middle school in Davie, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Will Gunn talks about his height and his interest in basketball

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Will Gunn describes his experience playing basketball in high school, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Will Gunn describes his experience playing basketball in high school, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Will Gunn describes his academic performance and extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Will Gunn recalls following the Watergate hearings on TV and his desire to become a lawyer

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about his mentors in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about his interest in applying to the ROTC programs in college

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Will Gunn talks about his decision to attend the Air Force Academy, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Will Gunn talks about his decision to attend the Air Force Academy, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Will Gunn talks about being accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Will Gunn describes his experience at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Will Gunn talks about his mentors at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Will Gunn talks about playing Flicker Ball at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Will Gunn talks about his decision to become an Air Force Judge Advocate General (JAG)

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about various career paths after training at the U.S. Air Force Academy training

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about his instructors, General Malham Wakin and Captain Curtis Martin at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Will Gunn talks about academics at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Will Gunn talks about playing basketball at the U.S. Air Force Academy and becoming class president

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Will Gunn talks about the U.S Air Force Academy's football and basketball teams

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Will Gunn talks about getting into Harvard Law School on the Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) program

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Will Gunn talks about his graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Will Gunn talks about his first assignment in the Minority Affairs Office at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Will Gunn talks about his assignment at Hanscom Air Force Base and getting into Harvard Law School

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about meeting his wife at Hanscom Air Force Base and getting married in 1982

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about his first impression of Harvard Law School

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Will Gunn talks about the people who inspired him to apply to Harvard Law School

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Will Gunn describes his experience and academics at Harvard Law School

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Will Gunn talks about the teachers who influenced him at Harvard Law School

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Will Gunn talks about his mentors at Harvard Law School and his involvement in public service, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Will Gunn talks about his mentors at Harvard Law School and his involvement in public service, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Will Gunn talks about his philosophy on public service

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Will Gunn talks about his involvement with the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Will Gunn talks about his philosophy in practicing law

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Will Gunn reflects upon the history of race and law in the U.S. Armed Services

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Will Gunn describes his experience in the JAG Corps at Mather Air Force Base

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Will Gunn talks about his responsibilities as Area Defense Counselor and as a Circuit Defense Counsel

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Will Gunn talks about being selected as a White House Fellow in 1990

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Will Gunn talks about his experience as a White House Fellow

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Will Gunn talks about Clarence Thomas' controversial confirmation hearings as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

5$7

DATitle
Will Gunn talks about his decision to become an Air Force Judge Advocate General (JAG)
Will Gunn talks about being selected as a White House Fellow in 1990
Transcript
Now I know in the, I've heard anyway there's a height limit in, in terms of being a pilot--$$Yes.$$--but uh, so even though you're in the [U.S.] Air Force would you, could you qualify to be a pilot at 6'7"?$$Yes. When I got to the Air Force Academy I was pilot-qualified. I had the, the thing that throws a lot of people off is the, is actually the eyesight and I had 20/20 vision and so I was pleased. I was happy to be pilot-qualified but flying was never a dream of mine. So I saw being at the Air Force Academy since they produce pilots, I saw being pilot-qualified as just a great a fringe benefit. The fact that, "Hey this is nice, nice to have." But it was interesting. For the first time in my life you know earlier I mentioned changing ambitions as I was coming up, which I don't think is all that uncommon. Well for the first time in my life I was around people at the Air Force Academy that I heard story after story of people saying things like, "Hey when I was like three or four years old and looked up and saw planes flying, I knew I wanted to fly planes." And there were so many people that I came into contact with that were at the Air Force Academy because of the desire that they had to fly and to be a pilot. That was never my passion. So as a senior at Academy because I was still pilot-qualified and just under the height, height requirements I had to take a course, pilot screening course, which led to being able to solo in a single engine Cessna. Well it was an interesting experience because I found myself getting air sick in, in the patterns as I was you know preparing to land and also during different maneuvers and such. And I really believe it was just my body telling me that, "Hey this is not your thing." And so I turned down the opportunity to go to pilot training because I was eventually able to get past the air sickness but it wasn't something that I was passionate about. On the other hand, I did have a couple of pre-law classes at the Air Force Academy. I did very, very well in those and thought that, "Hmm, maybe I want to be an Air Force JAG [Judge Advocate General]," and eventually that, that came to be.$$Okay.$Now in 1990 we have here that you became a White House Fellow?$$Yes.$$How did that come about?$$Well as a senior at the [U.S.] Air Force Academy I had, I had a friend, a young lady who came out for a visit, and she had with her this brochure about the White House Fellows program. And I took, I took a look at the brochure and it had biographies, short bios of the current class of White House Fellows and I saw it and said, "Wow! This is cut-out for me!" And, but ask I saw those bios and saw the things that the people had done at, at that stage in their career, I knew that I was far too junior for it. But I started to send off each year for the application and each application would have the bios of the current class and the, it became a goal of mine to become a White House Fellow. Finally in 1989 I suppose I appli-well actually 1988 I applied for the first time for the White House Fellows program and I made it after filling out the application I made it to the regionals. I had a regional interview in Los Angeles [California] and felt I'd just had a great day but I didn't make it to the national finals. I actually had a mentor, a guy by the name of Pat Sweeny, who is a black JAG [Judge Advocate General], who was a colonel military judge who presided over my, one of my first cases as, as a prosecutor, who talked to me about the program. Now I was already aware of it but he then a Fellow I believe in the, during the [President Ronald] Reagan Administration and early in the Reagan Administration. And so he became a person that I called upon for advice on the White Fellows program. Well that first year as I said when I went for the regional interviews I had a great day but part of the application asked for you to send in a draft or a memo, a policy memorandum proposing some type of policy to the President of the United States. And you know it wouldn't actually get to the president but they wanted to see how well you write, wrote and how, how well you reason. Well my policy proposal that year as, since I was serving as a defense counsel in particular. I said, well I want to write; I wrote about the, how the military should repeal this ban on gay service members because it didn't make sense to me that in all volunteer force we were getting rid of people because they were gay and when, if we came into a time of conflict, that person who's serving and all they'd have to say is "I'm sorry. I have to leave now. I'm gay." And (laughs) that just didn't, didn't strike me as, as making a whole lot of sense. And so I argued the case and so I sent that in as my policy proposal. After finding out that I was not selected, I got a letter from one of the interviewers and he told me that he was disappointed that I hadn't been selected and encouraged me that if I was interested I should reapply. But also told me that while he didn't agree with my policy proposal, he believed that that had distracted some of the other interviewers--$$[unclear]$$--while, during their deliberations, while no one would admit to it he firmly believed that there were some that were uncomfortable with that proposal and therefore they marked me down. Well the next year I, I suppose I was, I didn't keep the same policy proposal. I wrote on something different and that year I got, I got all the way through and I was named a White House Fellow there in the, in early June of, of 1990. And came to [Washington] D.C. [District of Columbia] a few weeks later for a series of interviews to figure out where I was going to be placed and the fellowship year begins right around, right after Labor Day and it was a phenomenal year.$$

The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr.

Judge Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. was born on July 14, 1954, in Detroit, Michigan, to Gwendolyn and Hugh Barrington Clarke, Sr. As a young boy, Clarke enjoyed playing baseball and was influenced by Detroit’s “Motown Sound,” often performing in his school’s talent shows. He attended Pattengill Elementary School and Dixon Elementary School before attending Webber Junior High School as an adolescent. In 1967, during a time of great social and political upheaval, Clarke witnessed the Detroit Riots from his front porch. He went on to graduate at the age of sixteen from Cass Technical High School.

In 1971, Clarke enrolled at Oakland Community College. Afterwards, he pursued his B.S. degree in criminal justice at Wayne State University. Clarke followed his career path by attending the Detroit City Police Academy. However, in 1976, due to a lack of city funding, he accepted a managing position at a women’s clothing store before enrolling at Thomas M. Cooley Law School. While in law school, Clarke worked on the drafting of the Revised Michigan Probate Code and various amendments to the Michigan Code of Criminal Procedure. He graduated in 1979 with his J.D. degree and went on to work for the Associate General Counsel for the State Senate. Then, in 1981, Clarke went to work at the law firm of Rosenbaum and Holland. The firm later added another attorney and changed its name to Rosenbaum, Holland, Clarke and Foster. In 1989, Clarke founded Hugh Clarke and Associates and began working on high profile criminal cases including providing legal services for rapper Tupac Shakur and NFL football player Muhsin Muhammad.

In 2000, Clarke married former Olympic track and field silver medalist, Judith Brown. The married couple went on to have a baby boy, Hugh Barrington Clarke, IV. Clarke became a member of the Lansing Board of Education in 2003 and served as its president in 2007. During that time, he served as chair of the superintendent search committee and chair of the personnel search. In 2010, Clarke was appointed as a judge on the 54-A District Court in Lansing, Michigan.

Accession Number

A2008.040

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/29/2008

Last Name

Clarke

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Barrington

Occupation
Schools

Cass Technical High School

Pattengill Elementary School

Wayne State University

Webber Middle School

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

First Name

Hugh

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

CLA16

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Boule Foundation

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Grow Up To Be Somebody.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

7/14/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Lansing

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Goat (Curried)

Short Description

Defense lawyer and judge The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. (1954 - ) represented high profile clients like rapper Tupac Shakur and NFL football player Mushin Muhammad.

Employment

Hugh B. Clarke and Associates

54-A Judicial District Court

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:924,21:1386,28:4466,77:14630,288:18172,358:26040,435:27349,459:37128,685:40362,752:45136,1034:80289,1395:80691,1403:84041,1478:84309,1483:86118,1536:87324,1575:87726,1582:93255,1659:93912,1669:95445,1692:95737,1697:97197,1734:105008,1882:114352,2097:121165,2171:128407,2324:128975,2335:135934,2412:144978,2579:146650,2610:148702,2645:169092,2951:169668,2962:170172,2991:172188,3122:190732,3341:192940,3367$0,0:3320,73:4980,116:7470,144:8964,171:10707,243:18426,364:19090,374:19754,383:20418,449:33893,601:34960,614:43110,732:47124,769:55688,912:56428,923:56872,931:66058,1060:78434,1272:85725,1368:103430,1676:109552,1771:109957,1777:110524,1786:114331,1847:114817,1866:115141,1871:117085,1900:124360,1993:128158,2042:128523,2048:130859,2092:131370,2105:132173,2118:135020,2167:135385,2197:151644,2552:166371,2742:169836,2791:175974,2876:177855,2915:178449,2923:190432,3087:193850,3141:194270,3148:212467,3426:217425,3564:219301,3599:219837,3609:223491,3623:226858,3665:227222,3670:228223,3682:229224,3696:230043,3706:230680,3714:231681,3755:234775,3795:246870,3911:247190,3916:247830,3930:266072,4213:287156,4516:296580,4660:297840,4676:306344,4781:313910,4985
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. talks about his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. talks about the West Indian immigrant community

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke remembers his trips to Jamaica

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. remembers Marcus Garvey

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. talks about the changes in postcolonial Jamaica

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke describes his father's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. describes his likeness to his father

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. remembers his neighborhood on the east side of Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. remembers his interest in baseball

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. recalls the fashions of his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. recalls the notable figures in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. remembers the civil unrest in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. recalls moving to the northwest side of Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. remembers the black community in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. describes his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. recalls his experiences of school desegregation, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. recalls his experiences of school desegregation, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. remembers Webber Middle School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. describes his teachers at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. recalls how he secured a job at the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. describes his social life

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. recalls his interest in the Black Panther Party

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. describes his early aspiration to become a lawyer

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. recalls the Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. remembers his arrest for an unpaid ticket

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. describes his experiences at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. describes his experiences at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington recalls the notable figures at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. remembers Willie Horton

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. recalls his start as a criminal defense lawyer

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. describes the founding of the Lansing Black Lawyers Association

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. talks about the African American community in Lansing, Michigan

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. remembers defending Tupac Shakur

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. remembers representing Muhsin Muhammad

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. talks about the case of Claude McCollum, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. talks about the case of Claude McCollum, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. talks about his presidency of the Lansing Board of Education

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. describes his concerns for the public schools in Lansing, Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

7$4

DATitle
The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. remembers his interest in baseball
The Honorable Hugh Barrington Clarke, Jr. remembers defending Tupac Shakur
Transcript
A lot of it revolved around sports and mostly playing baseball because there were a number of us that lived in the neighborhood, right there on the street, within a few houses of each other. In those days when you went to a ballgame a lot of times you got all your equipment by going to special days at Tiger Stadium [Detroit, Michigan]. They had bat day, they had ball day, they had hat day so usually by sometime in July you had a baseball bat, you had a ball and I don't mean a softball you had an official hardball and you had your hat and we'd play baseball on the street or in the alley behind the house but a lot of times it was right there in the street. We didn't have any parks or schools nearby and during the day you'd play. I know the street had a bend in it at one point and if you hit it down there that far that was just automatically a homerun but if you hit it towards somebody house, man, it was funny you'd watch all the kids scatter and everybody's yelling and hollering no chips on windows and if you didn't want to hit the ball you're the one left standing there. So somebody generally paid your parents a visit to get their window fixed.$$You were playing with a hardball in the street.$$Absolutely but we were good players we could catch, we could throw. I think the difference between kids nowadays we didn't have all those video games but we learned how to take things, make things and play for our self. So if you didn't have a hardball you'd play baseball and if you didn't have anybody to play with that day you played catch. You took a tennis ball and you throw it against the stairs. Well the ball is going to go in a different direction so you learn good lateral movement and you'd watch the Tigers [Detroit Tigers], you wanted to be like Dick McAuliffe and make some of those dives of backhand pickup. Shortstops knew those things and we would immolate those guys when we played. In the '60s [1960s] when Willie Horton who was a big hero in Detroit [Michigan], product of Northwestern High School [Detroit, Michigan] would play number twenty-three and that big bat. I used to love when I got the Willie Horton bat. I didn't like the LK line bats because they were small and a little skinnier but when it was bat day and you got that Willie Horton bat man you had a bat because that was a bigger bat--big fat head on that bat 'cause Willie used to swat them out the ballpark and it was just great when you had one of those. I think some of my fondest memories are bat day at Tiger Stadium because when you'd start to rally, you got maybe ten, twelve however many thousand kids in the stands with a baseball bat pounded that bat up and down the concrete and you would just hear that whole ballpark reverberate, man. I swear sometimes you could see the stadium moving, we just had it rocking and going in there. When you go there in the winter Thanksgiving games I would get to go to as the women in the house were cooking dinner--Thanksgiving dinner and I would go my Uncle Al [Allen Clarke (ph.)] would take me. I remember we'd sit there and it's cold out there and you'd have on your--I don't know how I could even move there 'cause I was so stuffed up with clothes and sitting there kind of like this but it was great to be there. So those are some of the better memories and some of the more fond memories I have.$I want to talk about some of your I guess--there are some noted, notable cases here some are notable because of the people involved more so but just walk us through maybe three cases of some significance (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) I have three clients that stand out. One of them was the late rapper Tupac Shakur; Tupac is a former client. Tupac was on the campus of Michigan State [Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan] several years ago. He did a concert and an incident occurred--$$This is like back in the '90s [1990s] I guess right?$$Yes and an incident occurred where he was arrested and charged with felonious assault which is a four year felony offense. The allegation was he threatened somebody with a baseball bat. I had a young African American woman working for me as my secretary. I remember I came in one day and she was calling me and she was--I came in and she was just so excited to tell me that Watani Tchyemba called from Atlanta, Georgia and wanted me to represent Tupac Shakur and I'm looking at her like who, to do what? I won't take the Fifth [Fifth Amendment], I didn't know who Tupac Shakur was and she was busy trying to explain to me who he was and some of the movies he had done and I said, "Well, okay we'll see." She really encouraged me to take the case. So I called this gentleman back in Atlanta who actually happened to be Mr. Shakur's agent or lawyer and he filled me in on some of the details and I went out to the police station in East Lansing [Michigan] lockup. I talked to him, got him through the arraignment, got him bailed out and we ended up resolving the case over the next few months. It took us a few months because of the notoriety to get the case resolved to where it should have been. It was right after he walked out of court here at a sentencing that he went to New York [New York] to face some criminal sexual conduct charges there that he got convicted in New York. Actually during the trial I believe at one point, he was shot several times but he ended up being convicted of criminal sexual assault in New York and was sentenced to prison. We exchanged a couple of letters during that time. Then there was of course the time he got out and he was in Las Vegas [Nevada] and was shot and killed which was I think unfortunate. It was always let's be on high alert when Tupac was coming 'cause once we got the call--he knew when he had to be here for court appearances. I'd pick him up at the airport and get him settled in the hotel, kind of keep an eye on him and make sure he wasn't getting into any trouble while he was here on my watch.$$What was your impression of Tupac Shakur as a person basically?$$You know if you stripped away that gangster rap persona mentality he was really kind of a quiet, thoughtful guy. We had times to discuss where he wanted his movie career to go, the roles he wanted to play. He wanted to play an attorney; he wanted to play a lawyer in a movie. He didn't mind some of the parts he had undertaken; obviously, it was rather lucrative for him. But he wanted to expand his horizon and kind of get out of that on the acting piece and I just thought that was real interesting some of those kinds of conversations that we would have. But he would come in--he'd come to town, we'd get him checked in the hotel, he'd have a travelling partner with him his road manager I guess he was, and he caused me no trouble, no problems, nothing. I mean it was always fun when he came if he had a new something coming out he'd bring me some demo CDs to listen to and we'd talk--we'd chat about the industry, his life and his music. I think he wanted to turn some things around. He'd expressed concern about his record and I mean his criminal record and we would have some talks and with Tupac you have to kind of leave some of this public nonsense alone. You don't have to emulate and do what you talk about in your music. So we unfortunately just never got a chance to see him fully develop and go in the direction he wanted to go from the film industry point of view.$$Okay you were telling me before we rolled that sometimes when you're angry you play Tupac.$$I do that and I have done that for years. I'll get a little angry and ticked off and if I want to blow off some steam of course a lot of times I make sure there is nobody home or I put my headphones on because obviously some of the language in his songs are kind of raw, misogynistic at times but I'll just put it on and crank it up and just get it out of my system that way. So somehow his music is therapeutic for me.$$And you didn't know who he was in the beginning?$$I had no idea so we went from being a stranger to, to this day he's still kind of my therapist.$$It's interesting at one time you were perpetrating [sic.] being a Panther with the beret and black leather jacket and his mother Afeni Shakur who is a Black Panther [Black Panther Party] in New York (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Right.