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The Honorable Paul Webber

Senior judge in the District of Columbia Superior Court, Paul Rainey Webber, III was born on January 24, 1934 in Gadsden, South Carolina to Paul Rainey Webber, Jr. and Clemmie Embley Webber. His parents, both educators, met at South Carolina State University. Webber’s mother is the author of My Treadwell Street Saga and The College Soda Shop – An Education for Life, chronicling the business. Webber attended Felton Elementary School, the South Carolina State College Lab School and graduated from Wilkinson High School in 1951. He earned his B.A. degree in political science in 1955 from South Carolina State College and his J.D. degree from South Carolina State College’s School of Law in 1957.

Webber practiced law in Columbia, South Carolina for nineteen months and taught at Allen University. He was married in 1958 before leaving for UCLA where he was employed as assistant law librarian in 1959. In 1960, he joined Golden State Mutual Insurance Company as associate legal counsel. Webber was appointed trial attorney for the Antitrust Division of the United States Justice Department in 1964. In 1967, he becomes managing attorney for the Neighborhood Legal Services Program, serving during the 1968 riots. Webber became a partner with Thompson Evans Dolphin and Webber in 1969, which later became Dolphin Branton Stafford and Webber. In Washington, Webber taught at Howard University School of Communications and later at George Washington University School of Law. Webber was appointed Washington, D.C. Superior Court Judge in 1977. In 1985, he was named “Outstanding Trial Judge of the Year” and was rated “One of the Best Trial Justices in the Washington Metropolitan Area” by Washington Magazine in 1996. Webber ascended to Senior Judge of the D.C. Superior Court in 1998 and was inducted into the National Bar Association Hall of Fame that same year.

Webber is a member of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Think Tank, the Council for Court Excellence, and the Guardsmen. He serves as board member and general counsel for the Boule, Sigma Pi Phi and is also the author of Enjoy the Journey, One Lawyer’s Memoir.

Webber is married to Fay DeShields Webber and has three grown children.

Webber was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 6, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.049

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/6/2007

Last Name

Webber

Maker Category
Schools

Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School

Felton Laboratory Charter School

South Carolina State University Lab School

First Name

Paul

Birth City, State, Country

Gadsden

HM ID

WEB05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Ocean Pines, Maryland

Favorite Quote

Always Do The Best You Can

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

1/24/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Spaghetti

Short Description

Superior court judge The Honorable Paul Webber (1934 - ) was a senior judge of the Washington, D.C. Superior Court.

Employment

Allen University

University of California Los Angeles School of Law

Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company

District of Columbia Superior Court

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of the Honorable Paul Webber's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Paul Webber lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his mother's childhood in Orangeburg, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his father's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Paul Webber recalls his father's semi-professional baseball career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his siblings and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his childhood in Orangeburg, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his personality and how he takes after his father

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his early education

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - The Honorable Paul Webber recalls the influence of Benjamin Mays

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - The Honorable Paul Webber remembers music from his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his early interest in politics

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Paul Webber recalls the Civil Rights Movement in Orangeburg, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his parents' political involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Paul Webber recalls his decision to attend South Carolina State College

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his mentors at South Carolina State College

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Paul Webber remembers learning about African American history

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Paul Webber recalls joining Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his activities at South Carolina State College

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Paul Webber remembers meeting Negro League baseball players

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Paul Webber remembers South Carolina State College School of Law

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his studies at South Carolina State College School of Law

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - The Honorable Paul Webber talks about the Orangeburg massacre

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - The Honorable Paul Webber talks about public school integration

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - The Honorable Paul Webber recalls his early law career

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Paul Webber recalls being hired at Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Paul Webber recalls meeting attorney Leo Branton, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his work at Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Paul Webber recalls his work at the U.S. Department of Justice

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Paul Webber recalls managing the Neighborhood Legal Services Program in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes the casework of the Neighborhood Legal Services Program

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Paul Webber talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Paul Webber recalls joining the law firm of Thompson, Evans and Dolphin

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Paul Webber remembers Thurgood Marshall, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Paul Webber remembers Thurgood Marshall, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his former law partners

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - The Honorable Paul Webber recalls his appointment to the District of Columbia Superior Court

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes the highlights of his career as a judge

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his judicial philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Paul Webber talks about trying juveniles as adults

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Paul Weber recalls the impact of drugs on crime in the 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Paul Webber talks about media representations of the judicial system

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his hopes for the criminal justice system

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes his organizational involvement

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Paul Webber reflects upon his life

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Paul Webber reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Paul Webber describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - The Honorable Paul Webber narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

8$2

DATitle
The Honorable Paul Webber recalls his father's semi-professional baseball career
The Honorable Paul Webber recalls meeting attorney Leo Branton, Jr.
Transcript
He [Webber's father, Paul Webber, Jr.] was involved in athletics for a long time, I guess, we just looked at the pictures before we started?$$Yes. He was assistant football coach [at the Colored Normal Industrial Agricultural and Mechanical College of South Carolina; South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, South Carolina] for a number of years, he was, he formed a baseball, a semi-pro baseball team called the Orangeburg Tigers, right after the war and they played teams in North [North Carolina], South Carolina in Virginia, Florida and they played a lot of the negro major league [Negro Leauges] teams when they were barnstorming throughout the South, they would come to Orangeburg [South Carolina] and the Tigers had a pretty good record against teams like the Homestead Grays, the Birmingham Black Barons, the Atlanta Black Crackers, one of my favorite names, and the New York Black Yankees (laughter).$$So they had a good record against these, I mean they, they had a--$$Yeah--$$--they could hold their own against this, they could play (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) They could, they could. I think because they had two colleges there, and neither college at that time had a baseball team, a lot of talented young men went out for the semi-pro team and so I think the fact that they had so much talent there was attractive not only to the teams that they barnstormed against but to the fans. So they drew a lot of fans until Jackie Robinson signed with the Dodgers [Brooklyn Dodgers; Los Angeles Dodgers] and then when they cou- when fans could see Jackie on TV or hear the games, the Dodgers games on radio, the interest in semi-pro teams started to drain, and dwindle and the team disbanded about 1954, I think they started about 1946.$$Okay, okay. So, was, was that an exciting time to be around when the teams?$$It really was, it really was. I was batboy and traveled with the team, they had a bus that they painted orange and back with big tigers on each side and little towns throughout the South where the bus went through, the kids would always run up and cheer and anytime we had a team, that bus was a major attraction. And just sitting on the bus and listening to stories being told by some of the players, not all of the players were college age, some of them were World War II [WWII] veterans, guys who had been around the world and had a lot of interesting tales to tell. So, for a kid my age, around twelve to fourteen or so, it was an exciting time.$At some time thereafter I met Leo Branton [HistoryMaker Leo Branton, Jr.] who had, one of those years when I was out there was the Los Angeles [California] layer of the year, as I recalled, his total verdicts in trials in that year was the highest of any lawyer in Los Angeles County [California]. And so he was named lawyer of the year and it was a banquet or something for Leo and I went and that's where I met him.$$Okay. All right, had you heard about him before--well I guess you hadn't.$$I had not heard about Leo until I moved to Los Angeles.$$Okay.$$Um-hm.$$And I heard he handled quite a few high profile black clients.$$That's right. He was at one time the lawyer for Nat Cole [Nat King Cole], Dorothy Dandridge, Jimi Hendrix, [HistoryMaker] Angela Davis, among others.$$Okay.$$Um-hm.$$So this is like 1959 maybe or?$$No, no. This was around 1962, at that point.$$Sixty-two [1962]? Okay, all right.$$Um-hm.$$So you had been there a while?$$Yes.$$Okay.$$Um-hm.$$Nineteen sixty-two [1962].