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LawMakers have made significant and influential contributions to the legal field and include lawyers working in the public interest, for the government, and in the corporate realm. Judges, hearing officers, law professors, and deans of law schools are also included in this category.

The Honorable Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr.

Judge Fernando Gaitan, Jr. was born on August 22, 1948 to Fernando, Sr. and Betty Gaitan in Kansas City, Kansas. He attended Northeast Junior High School, and graduated from Sumner High School in 1966. He attended Kansas City Kansas Community College and Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas. He obtained his B.S. degree in biology and psychology from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas in 1970. Gaitan earned his J.D. degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law in 1974.

Following law school, Gaitan went to work as in-house counsel for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company from 1974 to 1980. Appointed trial judge of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri, he served from 1980 to 1986. In 1986, Gaitan became the first African American appointee to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District. Appointed by Governor John Ashcroft, he served from 1986 to 1991. Gaitan was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri and was confirmed by the Senate in 1991. From 1997 to 2003, he served as member of the Federal-State Jurisdiction Committee of the Judicial Conference. In 2007, Gaitan became Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, and served a seven-year term thorough 2014. He took senior status to Senior Judge in 2014.

Gaitan has served as member of the Eighth Circuit Judicial Council, the Judicial Conference Federal-State Jurisdiction Committee and Committee on the Administration of Bankruptcy System. He also served on the boards of the Kansas City Science Museum, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, St. Luke’s Hospital, and the De La Salle Alternative School, as chair. Gaitan served as an advisory board member and vice-chair for the Kansas City Crime Commission’s “Second Chance” Foundation, as well as an adjunct professor and member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.

Gaitan received the Alumnus of the Year Award from UMKC, the Outstanding Alumnus Award from Pittsburg State University, The William Jewell College Yates Medallion, the Difference Maker Award from the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, the Centurion Leadership Award from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and the Reason to Believe Award from the Kansas City, Kansas School District. He was also inducted into the Missouri Walk of Fame.

Fernando Gaitin, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 9, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.127

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/9/2019

Last Name

Gaitan

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Joe

Schools

Kelling Elementary School

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Northeast Junior High School

Charles L. Sumner High School

Kansas City Junior College at Sumner

Donnelly College

Pittsburg State University

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law

First Name

Fernando

Birth City, State, Country

Kansas City

HM ID

GAI04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Kansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Miami Beach

Favorite Quote

None

Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

8/22/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Mexican Food

Short Description

Judge Fernando Gaitan, Jr. (1948- ) was the first African American appointee to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District in 1986. He joined the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri in 1991, and became Chief Judge in 2007 and Senior Judge in 2014.

Employment

Southwestern Bell Telephone Company

Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri

Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District

United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri

Favorite Color

Blue

The Honorable Jon R. Gray

Judge Jon R. Gray was born on November 16, 1951 in Little Rock, Arkansas to Mai H. Gray and Reverend C. Jarrett Gray, Sr. After graduating from Paseo High School in Kansas City, Missouri in 1969, Gray received his B.A. degree in American Studies from Grinnell College in 1973. He went on to receive his J.D. degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law in 1976.

After graduating from law school, Gray was appointed assistant Jackson County Counselor and established a solo law practice, before joining the firm of Gray Payne & Roque as a principal and partner. He served as a Democratic Attorney for the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners from 1981 to 1986 and as a chair of the Liquor Control Board of Review of Kansas City, Missouri. In 1986, Governor John Ashcroft appointed him circuit judge in the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit of Missouri. He served a term as the Administrative Judge of the Family Court of Jackson County and as a special judge of the Missouri Supreme Court. He also taught at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Emory University School of Law, and the Missouri Judicial College. In 2007, Gray retired from the circuit court and joined Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP as a partner in its Kansas City office, where he served as chair of the firm’s Professional Development Committee.

Gray served on the board of trustees of Southern Methodist University from 1988 until 2000. In 2007, he served a one year term as chair of the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association; and, in 2008, he joined the American Arbitration Association as a member of its panel of commercial arbitrators. Governor Jay Nixon appointed Gray to serve as a member of the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority in 2009, and as a member of the Missouri Citizens’ Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials in 2014. An active member of The United Methodist Church, Gray was elected to serve an eight year term as a member of its Judicial Council, and as a delegate to its General Conferences in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004. Judge Gray holds membership in The Missouri Bar, the National Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Jackson County Bar Association, the Association of Missouri Mediators, and the FINRA panel of arbitrators. He is admitted to practice before the Missouri Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Gray received the Difference Maker Award from the Urban League of Greater Kansas City in 2002, the Lewis W. Clymer Award from the Jackson County Bar in 2007, and the Spurgeon Smithson Award from the Missouri Bar Association in 2014. In 2018, he was honored with the Missouri Legal Icon Award from Missouri Lawyers Publications and the Raymond Pace Alexander Award from the National Bar Judicial Council.

The Honorable Jon R. Gray was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 6, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.122

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/6/2019

Last Name

Gray

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

R.

Occupation
Schools

Wendell Phillips Elem. Magnet

Park Elementary School

Northeast Junior High School

Paseo High School

Grinnell College

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law

First Name

Jon

Birth City, State, Country

Little Rock

HM ID

GRA19

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Do All The Good You Can, In All The Ways That You Can, For All The People That You Can, In All The Places That You Can, As Long As Ever You Can - John Wesley

Birth Date

11/16/1951

Birth Place Term
Favorite Food

Desserts, Barbecue, and Vegetables

Short Description

Judge Jon R. Gray (1951- ) served as circuit judge in the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit of Missouri from 1986 to 2007.

Employment

Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP

Sixteenth Judicial Circuit of Missouri

Gray Payne & Roque

Favorite Color

Blue

Maurice Watson

Lawyer Maurice Watson was born on January 13, 1958 in Kansas City, Missouri to Christene and George Watson. He attended Barstow School and was the first African American to graduate from there in 1976. Watson then attended Harvard University where he graduated cum laude and received his B.A. degree in social studies in 1980 before earning his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1984.

After graduating from Harvard University in 1980, Watson worked in the legal department at Hallmark Cards, Inc. until 1981 when he entered Harvard Law School. Upon receiving his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1984, Watson was hired as an aide for Senator John Danforth (R-MO) where he worked with civil rights, healthcare, and education issues. He remained here until 1987 when he returned to Kansas City, Missouri to serve as an associate at Blackwell Sanders, working on civil rights and education issues. Here, he would later become partner and relationship manager for the Kansas City Public School system. In 2012, Watson was named chairman of the board of Husch Blackwell, making him the first African American to head a major law firm in Missouri and the third to do so in the country. He remained as chairman until 2018 when he co-founded Credo Philanthropy Advisors and became of counsel to Husch Blackwell.

Watson has served on numerous boards throughout his career, including as president of the board of trustees for Barstow School from 1989 to 1996, chairman of the board of directors for Children’s Mercy Hospital from 1993 to 2007 and vice chair of ther board of trustees from 2002 to 2007, and secretary of the board of trustees for the National Association of Independent Schools from 1995 to 2003. He has also been a member of the African American Managing Partners Network, the Jackson County Bar Association, the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.

Watson also received numerous awards, including the 2007 Missouri Hospital Association Excellence in Governance Award, the NAACP Kansas City, Missouri Chapter’s Velma E. Woodson Outstanding Leadership Award in 2012, the Urban League of Greater Kansas City Difference Maker of the Year Award in 2012, Kansas City Business Journal’s Power 100 recognition from 2014 to 2017, the Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s 2018 Law Firm Leader Award, and the African American Managing Partners Network’s 2018 Managing Partner of the Year Award.

Watson resides in Kansas City, Missouri.

Maurice Watson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 4, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.120

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/4/2019

Last Name

Watson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Alvin

Occupation
Schools

George Washington Carver School

George Melcher Elementary School

Southwest High School

The Barstow School

Harvard University

Harvard Law School

First Name

Maurice

HM ID

WAT21

Favorite Season

Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

London

Favorite Quote

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Speakers Bureau Region State

Missouri

Birth Date

1/13/1958

Speakers Bureau Region City

Kansas City

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Lawyer Maurice Watson (1958- ) was the first African American to head a major law firm in Missouri and the third to do so in the country after being named chairman of Husch Blackwell in 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Employment

Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Blackwell Sanders Matheny Weary & Lombardi

Lord Lloyd & Bissell

Senator John Danforth (R-MO)

Blackwell Sanders

Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP

Husch Blackwell

Credo Philanthropy Advisors

Favorite Color

Purple

Kofi Appenteng

Lawyer Kofi Appenteng was born on June 14, 1957 in Accra, Ghana to Felicia and Samuel Appenteng. He attended Gateway School and Aldenham School in England and later immigrated to the United States in 1977, where he attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. There, he was a member of the men’s soccer team and participated in track and field. Appenteng received his B.A. degree from Wesleyan University in 1981 and his J.D. degree from Columbia University School of Law in New York City in 1984.

After graduation, Appenteng was hired by the law firm of Webster & Sheffield as an associate. In 1991, he joined Thacher Proffitt & Wood LLP, where he specialized in merger and acquisitions, private placements, corporate governance, mortgage finance transactions, and not-for-profit law. Appenteng was promoted to partner in 1994, where he advised foreign and domestic individuals and companies on matters related to corporate governance, securities law compliance, acquisitions, corporate finance, regulatory compliance and crisis management. He then became CEO and director of Constant Capital Ghana Limited from 2008 to 2014. In 2014, Appenteng served as senior counsel at Dentons and became chair of the board of directors for the Ford Foundation. In 2016, he became president of the Africa-America Institute.

He served on Wesleyan University’s Board of Trustees from 1990 to 2006, and chaired the presidential search committee that recommended Michael S. Roth as the sixteenth president of Wesleyan University in 2007. He also served as non-executive director at Intravenous Infusions Limited and joined the board of directors of the Ford Foundation in 2007. He was later appointed to the board of directors at the International Center for Transitional Justice in 2015. He also served on the International Advisory Board of IE University, Spain and on the board of Instituto de Empresa Fund, Inc., Panbros Salt Industries Limited, the University of Cape Town Fund and the World Scout Fund.

Appenteng received the Baldwin Medal in 2007, the highest honor bestowed by the Wesleyan Alumni Association for service to the university and to society, and was inducted into the Wesleyan Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2013, Appenteng was named a “Great American Immigrant” by the Carnegie Corporation.

Kofi Appenteng was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 25, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.019

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/25/2019

Last Name

Appenteng

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

John Boakye

Occupation
Schools

The Gateway School

Little Hamden Manor Preparatory School

Aldenham School

Wesleyan University

Columbia Law School

First Name

Kofi

Birth City, State, Country

Accra

HM ID

APP01

Favorite Season

Fall

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean, Jamaica

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/14/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Ghana

Favorite Food

FuFu and Goat Soup

Short Description

Lawyer Kofi Appenteng (1957 - ) served as partner at Thacher Proffitt & Wood LLP, senior counsel at Dentons, chairman of the Ford Foundation’s board, and president of the Africa-America Institute.

Employment

Webster & Sheffield

Thatcher, Profitt & Wood LLP

Constant Capital Limited

Dentons

Africa-America Institute

Favorite Color

Blue

Michael A. Lawson

Lawyer Michael A. Lawson was born on August 8, 1953 in Little Rock, Arkansas to Ruth Ellen Jones and Milton Anderson Lawson. He received his B.A. degree in political science and economics in 1975 from Loyola Marymount University, in Los Angeles, California, and his J.D. degree from Harvard
Law School, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Lawson began his law career as a staff attorney for the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, in Washington, D.C. In 1980, he joined Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP, in Los Angeles, California, where he specialized in merger and acquisition transactions, bankruptcy, and litigation. Later, Lawson became a partner at the firm, where he worked for thirty-one years until 2011. In 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Lawson to serve as U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. Based in Montreal, Canada, Lawson served in this role from 2014 to 2017, coordinating and regulating international air travel. In 2018, Lawson was named president and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League.

From 2004 to 2014, Luster served as vice chair of the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County’s board of directors; and, from 2005 to 2011, he served as a member of the Board of Airport Commissioners (BOAC) for Los Angeles World Airports. In 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Luster to the California State Teachers Retirement System (CALSTRS) Board of Trustees, the second largest retirement system in the United States, where he served until 2014. In addition, he served as a trustee of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia and Loyola Marymount University of Los Angeles. He was also a board director and former chairman of the Constitutional Rights Foundation, and a board director of the Advancement Project and the Music Center Foundation.

Lawson was the recipient of the Strickland Excellence Award from the Loyola Marymount University African American Alumni Association in 2010. He was also recognized by Chambers USA as one of the nation's “Leading Lawyers for Business.”

Lawson and his wife, Mattie McFadden-Lawson, have two adult children, Michael Jr. and Jonathan.

Michael A. Lawson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 8, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.014

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/8/2019

Last Name

Lawson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Occupation
Schools

Gibbs Magnet Elementary School

Manhattan Place Elementary School

Henry Clay Junior High School

Westchester High School

Loyola Marymount University

Harvard Law School

First Name

Michael

Birth City, State, Country

Little Rock

HM ID

LAW07

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Any Place With Camping, Skiing, Or Beaches

Favorite Quote

If You Want To Get Something Done, Find A Busy Person

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

8/8/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Favorite Food

Blueberry Cobbler

Short Description

Lawyer Michael A. Lawson (1953 - ) was a corporate lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom from 1980 to 2011, before serving as U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Employment

The Los Angeles Urban League

International Civil Aviation Organization

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, L.L.P.

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

Favorite Color

Blue

Martina Bradford

Lawyer Martina Bradford was born on September 14, 1952 in Washington, D.C. to Alma Ashton Lewis and Martin Luther Lewis, Jr. Bradford received her B.A. degree in economics from American University in 1973, and her J.D. degree from Duke University School of Law in 1975.

In 1975, Bradford joined the Interstate Commerce Commission as attorney-director in the finance division, and was later promoted to chief of staff to the vice chairman. At the same time, she served as counsel to the Senate Committee on Government Operations and the House Appropriations Committee. In 1983, Bradford was hired by AT&T as an attorney in the corporate legal department, before moving to the public affairs department. In 1988, she was promoted to vice president of external affairs of the New York/New England region. Two years later, she was appointed vice president for federal government affairs at AT&T, where she lobbied on behalf of the company as lawmakers drafted the 1996 Telecommunications Act. In 1996, Bradford moved to AT&T’s spinoff company, Lucent Technologies, where she served as corporate vice president of global public affairs and helped establish the company with governmental and regulatory bodies. She left Lucent Technologies in 2000 to serve as partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. In 2006, Bradford served as senior advisor for human resources in the office of Senator Harry Reid and directed the Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative. She was appointed deputy sergeant at arms in 2010 and served for three years before joining the Bockorny Group as principal. In 2015, she founded Palladian Hill Strategies, a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C.

Bradford has served on the board of visitors at Duke University Law School and the board of trustees of American University. She also served as vice chairman of the board of trustees of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club and as a member of the board of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States Golf Association. In 1991, Bradford was named one of Black Enterprise’s 21 Women of Power and Influence in Corporate America.

Bradford and her husband have one daughter and reside in Washington, D.C.

Martina Bradford was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 26, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.106

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/26/2019

Last Name

Bradford

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

American University

Duke University School of Law

Duke University Fuqua School of Business

Bishop Henry McNeil Turner Elementary School

Kramer Middle School

Anacostia High School

First Name

Martina

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

BRA18

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda

Favorite Quote

All The World Is A Stage And Men And Women Are Merely Players

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/14/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Favorite Food

None

Employment

Interstate Commerce Commission

Senate Committee on Government Operations

House Appropriations Committee

At&T

Lucent Technologies

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Office of Senator Harry Reid

Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative

United States Senate

The Bockorny Group

Palladian Hill Strategies

Favorite Color

Red

Stephanie Phillipps

Lawyer Stephanie Phillipps was born on March 13, 1952 in Boston Massachusetts, to Dr. Robert and Marion Phillipps. She attended William Lloyd Garrison School and Girls’ Latin School in Boston, graduating in 1969. Phillipps then attended Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she earned her B.S. degree in economics in 1973. In 1976, she received her J.D. degree from Harvard Law School.

Phillipps was hired by the Washington D.C. law firm, Arnold & Porter, as its first African American woman associate in 1976. In 1984, she was promoted to partner and specialized in telecommunications, media, consumer protection and advertising law. Her clients included internet, cable television, and media companies, as well as state and local governments and nonprofit organizations. Phillipps also advised on various FCC rulemakings to implement and interpret the provisions of the 1984 and 1992 Cable Acts and the 1996 Telecommunications Act. In 1997, Phillipps and her husband, George Murray, established a fund with the Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C., called The Stephanie M. Phillipps and George E. Murray Fund. Its mission was to expand and increase diversity in the school through a student scholarship for African Americans, as well as funds to support African American faculty. In 2010, Phillipps founded an online support group called Beccastone for mothers and caregivers to find and share information and support on raising African American children.

In addition to being a lawyer, Phillipps has served on many boards including the Clara Elizabeth Jackson Carter Foundation, the Ellington Fund, the National Conference for Community and Justice, Sidwell Friends School, For the Love of Children (FLOC), and the National Symphony Orchestra. She was chair of the board trustrees of the Washington Region for Justice and Inclusion. She is also a member of Harvard Law School Black Alumni Network and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Phillipps was named part of The Legal 500 U.S. in the Telecoms and Broadcast: Regulatory category in 2013, 2017, and 2018.

Stephanie Phillipps and her husband reside in Washington D.C. and have two adult children, Sydney Murray and Michael Phillipps Murray.

Stephanie Phillipps was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 23, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.088

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/23/2019

Last Name

Phillipps

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

M.

Occupation
Schools

William Lloyd Garrison Elementary School

Boston Latin Academy

Radcliffe College

Harvard Law School

First Name

Stephanie

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

PHI09

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, St. Martin, and St. Barts

Favorite Quote

You Pass The Same People On The Way Up As You Pass On The Way Down

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/13/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

US

Favorite Food

Lobster and Caviar

Short Description

Lawyer Stephanie Phillipps (1952- ) joined Arnold & Porter in 1976, as its first African American woman associate, and was promoted to partner in 1984.

Employment

Arnold & Porter

Beccastone

Favorite Color

Purple

The Honorable Robert L. Wilkins

Judge Robert L. Wilkins was born on October 2, 1963 in Muncie, Indiana to Joyce Hayes Wilkins and John Wilkins. After graduating from Northside High School, Wilkins received his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 1986, and his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1989.

In 1989, Wilkins began his career as a law clerk for the Honorable Earl B. Gilliam of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Following his clerkship, Wilkins returned to Indiana to practice law and worked briefly for DeFurVoran. In 1990, he joined the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where he served as a staff attorney in the trial and appellate divisions. In 1996, he was promoted to special litigation chief. From 2002 to 2010, he served as partner of Venable LLP; and, in 2005, he founded the D.C. Access to Justice Commission. Wilkins was appointed U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia in 2010. In 2014, he was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Wilkins was a member of the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, and numerous sentencing and juvenile justice related associations. In 2003, Wilkins was a member of the presidential commission that advised President George W. Bush on the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture; and, in 2016, Wilkins authored Long Road to Hard Truth: The 100 Year Mission to Create the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

In 2001, Wilkins was named Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, and received the Henry W. Edgerton Civil Liberties Award sponsored by the ACLU Fund of the National Capital Area. In 2008, Wilkins was named one of the 90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years by Legal Times Journal. In 2014, Wilkins received an honorary doctorate of engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and the National Bar Association’s Gertrude E. Rush Award. He was also named one of the 40 most successful litigators under 40 by the National Law Journal.

Wilkins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 15, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.038

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/16/2019

Last Name

Wilkins

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

L

Occupation
Schools

Garfield Elementary School

Riley Elementary School

Burris Laboratory School

Northside High School

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Harvard Law School

First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Muncie

HM ID

WIL92

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard

Favorite Quote

Whatsoever Things Are True, Whatsoever Things Are Honest, Whatsoever Things Are Just, Whatsoever Things Are Pure, Whatsoever Things Are Lovely, Whatsoever Things Are Of Good Report...Think On These Things. - Philippians 4:8

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

10/2/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Favorite Food

Fried Oysters

Short Description

Judge Robert L. Wilkins (1963- ) served as partner of Venable LLP from 2002 to 2010. He was appointed U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia in 2010, and to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2014.

Employment

United States District Court for the Southern District of California

Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia

Venable LLP

U.S. District Court, District of Columbia

U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

Favorite Color

Blue

Joyce Moorehead

Lawyer Joyce Moorehead was born on May 29, 1946 in Buffalo, New York to Rita Faragher and Ernest Hanks. She was raised in Crescent City, Florida. In 1967, she graduated from Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida with her B.S. degree in sociology with a concentration in criminology. Moorehead then graduated from the University of Arkansas with her J.D. degree in 1976.

Moorehead served as assistant city prosecutor in Fayetteville, Arkansas for a year, before returning to Miami, Florida to serve as assistant director of a public interest law firm. In 1978, she was elected to the Miami-Dade County School Board, which she served on until 1982. Moorehead was subsequently hired by the Legal Services of Greater Miami as a senior attorney. In 1984, she moved to Baltimore, Maryland upon accepting a position as general counsel for Chicken George, Inc. She was then made associate general counsel for the NAACP, where she assisted in the development of civil rights litigation and handled cases in the federal system concerning employment and labor issues, as well as voting rights and education. Moorehead was also the primary liaison to multiple attorneys affiliated with various NAACP regions and several attorneys outside the organization. Starting in 1991, she worked as a senior associate at Hollis & Associates in Baltimore, specializing in employment and family cases. Moorehead left the firm in 1993 and started her own private practice focusing on employment, family, and labor issues. In 2004, she and her husband, Thomas Moorehead, established the Joyce and Thomas Moorehead Foundation to assist working families and provide college scholarships for graduating high school seniors. She also became co-owner of Sterling Motorcars with her husband in Sterling, Virginia. Thomas Moorehead was the first African American awarded a full franchise of Rolls Royce, McLaren, and Lamborghini brands.

Moorehead has served on the boards of the Maryland Legal Services Corporation, the Family League of Baltimore, the Sexual Assault Recovery Center, Bethune-Cookman University, the Urban League of Greater Miami, WPBT-TV of South Florida, the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida, and the Library of Congress. She has also been a member of the Maryland and Florida Bars, the Monumental City Bar Association, the Baltimore City Bar Association, the Maryland Court of Appeals Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, the Citizens Planning and Housing Authority of Baltimore, of which she was also chairman, and the Alliance of Black Women Attorneys, where she was a former president as well.

Moorehead resides in Virginia with her husband.

Joyce Moorehead was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 23, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.103

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/23/2019

Last Name

Moorehead

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Anne

Occupation
Schools

Bethune-Cookman University

University of Arkansas Law School

First Name

Joyce

Birth City, State, Country

Buffalo

HM ID

MOO21

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Morocco, Florence,Martha's Vineyard, and Pasadena, MD

Favorite Quote

This Too Shall Pass

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

5/29/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Lawyer Joyce Moorehead (1946 - ) was a senior attorney at Legal Services of Greater Miami, and served as general counsel for Chicken George Chicken, Inc. and the NAACP before opening her private law practice and becoming co-owner of BMW of Sterling and MINI of Sterling in Virginia with her husband.

Employment

City of Fayetteville

Legal Services of Greater Miami

Chicken George, Inc.

NAACP

Hollis & Associates

Sterling Motorcars

Favorite Color

Red

Marilyn Holifield

Lawyer Marilyn Holifield was born in Tallahassee, Florida on June 17, 1948 to Millicent and Bishop Holifield, Sr. She attended the University of Florida A&M’s Lab School, before transferring to Leon High School in 1963 where she was among the first three African Americans to ever graduate from the school in 1965. Holifield then attended Swarthmore University, where she received her B.A. degree in economics with a concentration in black studies, and was a founding member of the Swarthmore Afro-American Student Society (SASS). In 1972, she graduated from Harvard Law School with her J.D. degree.

From 1972 to 1977, Holifield worked as an assistant counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in New York City, responsible for litigating class action employment lawsuits in Florida, Alabama, and Missouri, and a major prison reform suit in Georgia. She subsequently served as general counsel for the New York State Division for Youth under Peter Edelman until 1978. Holifield was then hired as a law clerk for the late Appellate Judge Paul Roney in St. Petersburg, Florida, a role she held until 1979. In 1981, she joined the Holland & Knight law firm in Tampa, Florida as its first African American associate. Holifield was transferred to the Miami office in 1984, and made partner in 1986, becoming the first black female partner of a major Florida law firm. Here, her areas of focus included class action litigation and arbitration; labor, employment and benefits; civil rights, discrimination and retaliation; and labor and employment class actions. In 2018, in her capacity as a director for the Miami-Dade North Arts and Humanities Foundation, Holifield helped to establish The Miami Museum of Contemporary Art of the African Diaspora (Miami MOCAAD).

Holifield has served on a multitude of boards, including Swarthmore College’s board of managers, the University of Miami’s board of trustees, the Swarthmore Black Alumni Network (co-founding member), Harvard Alumni Association, and the Harvard Board of Overseers.

She has won numerous awards for her legal work, including Holland & Knight’s highest honor, the Chesterfield Smith Award, in 2000. Holifield was also the recipient of the Anti-Defamation League's Jurisprudence Award in 2011, the 2012 National Bar Association's Gertrude E. Rush Award, HistoryMiami’s Legal Legend Award in 2014, and the 2019 David W. Dyer Professionalism Award presented by the Dade County Bar Association.

Marilyn Holifield was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 18, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.076

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/18/2019

Last Name

Holifield

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

J.

Occupation
Schools

Swarthmore College

Harvard Law School

Florida A&M University Developmental Research School

Leon High School

Nathan B. Young Elementary School

First Name

Marilyn

Birth City, State, Country

Tallahassee

HM ID

HOL25

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard and New York

Favorite Quote

Reach higher, think bigger.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

6/17/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Favorite Food

Vegetables (Spinach and Greens) and Fish

Short Description

Lawyer Marilyn Holifield (1948- ) was hired as the law firm Holland & Knight’s first African American attorney in 1981, and when she made partner in 1986, she became the first black female partner of a major Florida law firm.

Employment

NAACP Legal Defense Fund

New York State Division for Youth

United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

Holland & Knight

Favorite Color

Red, Purple, and Blue