Hillary Clinton to Headline Event at Montgomery Bus Boycott 60th Anniversary

Photo Credit: Montgomery Advertiser

Official news was released yesterday that Democratic U.S. Presidential candidate, former U.S. Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Clinton will be participating in events planned for the 60th Anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

According to the National Bar Association, Clinton will be headlining the NBA’s symposium featuring legendary civil rights attorney Fred D. Gray.  Attorney Gray represented Rosa Parks after her arrest for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on December 1, 1955. Gray also represented Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many other civil rights leaders and unsung heroes, successfully arguing the landmark civil rights case “Browder v. Gayle” to the U.S. Supreme Court which led to the desegregation of buses in Montgomery.

Panelists of the National Bar Association’s power-packed public meeting also include Paulette Brown – the first African American woman to lead the American Bar Association as President as well as current National Bar Association President, Benjamin Crump.  Mr. Crump has represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

National Bar Association events include the  CLE Civil Rights Commemoration Tour from November 30th to December 1st . Sites along the tour include Selma, Tuskegee, and Montgomery.

Attendees of the event will be able to tour the Rosa Parks Museum, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and other prominent marks in Civil Rights history.

There will also be the unveiling of a historical marker to commemorate the 60th anniversary.

The National Bar Association was founded in 1925 by 120 African American lawyers who were excluded from membership to the American Bar Association and all other national attorney member organizations.  At that time, there were slightly under 1,000 Black attorneys in the United States.

The National Bar Association addressed issues such as professional ethics, legal education, and uniform state laws, as well as questions concerning the civil rights movement in transportation discrimination, residential segregation, and voting rights.

Many lawyers were also members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) because the NBA did not directly participate in civil rights activities. NBA attorneys instead worked through the NAACP to argue civil rights cases and supported other civil rights groups by offering information on a specific point of law or by filing amicus curiae briefs.  The NBA also sought to influence the composition of the judiciary by opposing nominees to the federal courts who opposed racial equality. In 1930, for example, the NBA helped block the appointment of controversial North Carolina judge John J. Parker by President Herbert Hoover to the U.S. Supreme Court because of his outspoken opposition to civil rights and voting rights for African Americans.  By the mid-1960s the NBA also addressed constitutional civil rights issues involving prisoners and criminal defendants and set up free legal clinics in impoverished African American neighborhoods.

In 1968 the Association helped to found the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO), in an attempt to increase African American enrollment in law schools.  CLEO offered financial assistance and gave summer institutes for African Americans and other people of color who were entering law students.  The NBA was also a leader in gender equity among black attorneys.  In 1928, Georgia Jones Ellis became the first woman officer in a bar association in the United States.  In 1981, the NBA elected its first woman president, Arnette Hubbard.

Even after 1943 when the American Bar Association finally accepted black members, the NBA remained the primary organizational vehicle for the vast majority of black attorneys… the NBA remains the largest black bar association in the country with over 20,000 lawyers, judges, educators, and law students.” – See more at: http://www.nationalbar.org and http://www.blackpast.org/aah/national-bar-association-1925#sthash.jNhuOLq6.dpuf

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