Famend Civil Rights Lawyer Charles J. Ogletree Jr. Dies, Leaving a Legacy of Justice and Empowerment



Charles J. Ogletree Jr., a distinguished Harvard Regulation Faculty professor, celebrated lawyer, and main civil rights advocate, has died at 70.

Ogletree, who had battled Alzheimer’s illness since 2015, reportedly died at his residence in Odenton, Maryland.

“Charles was a tireless advocate for civil rights, equality, human dignity, and social justice,” Harvard Regulation Faculty Dean John F. Manning mentioned, in line with the Related Press.

“He modified the world in so some ways, and he might be sorely missed in a world that very a lot wants him.”

Dorothy Roberts, a author, social advocate, and professor at Penn Regulation, praised Ogletree’s influence at Harvard Regulation Faculty.

She admired his function in inspiring confidence, selling studying, and inspiring activism amongst Black college students and future generations.

“After I began at Harvard Regulation Faculty in 1977, Tree was a third-year pupil and president of the Black Regulation College students Affiliation,” Roberts recalled in a tweet.

“Thank goodness he was there. He set a tone for me and the opposite Black college students — then, and for generations to come back — to be assured learners, legal professionals, and activists. Relaxation in love and energy.”

Remembering the Man referred to as “Tree”

Affectionately often called “Tree,” Ogletree was born in California and graduated with a legislation diploma from Harvard Regulation Faculty in 1978.

He grew to become an influential authorized theorist and a distinguished determine within the authorized group.

All through his illustrious profession, Ogletree actively contributed to the Nationwide Bar Affiliation (NBA) and its affiliate, the Washington Bar Affiliation (WBA).

In 2001, he acquired the Charles Hamilton Houston Medallion of Benefit from the Washington Bar Affiliation.

Then, in 2010, he was inducted into the WBA Corridor of Fame.

In a information launch, the NBA remarked that Ogletree was identified for his mentorship and repair, by which he emphasised the necessity to use the legislation as “an instrument of social and political change” and “a software to empower the dispossessed and disenfranchised.”

“Professor Ogletree was a useful member of our Affiliation,” mentioned NBA President Dominique D. Calhoun.

“His contributions towards the career and efforts to advance reparations for our folks left an indelible mark on the conscience of America for generations to come back.”

Calhoun referred to as Ogletree a visionary chief and vowed that the Bar Affiliation would proceed strides towards justice and equality.”

Ogletree’s Influence on Racial and Social Justice

Ogletree’s work primarily centered round race, class, and felony justice.

He served because the lead counsel to Anita Hill throughout her sexual harassment allegations in opposition to Clarence Thomas, then a U.S. Supreme Court docket nominee.

His involvement supplied authorized counsel and helped Hill devise a media technique, together with a information convention to announce her profitable lie detector take a look at.

Ogletree credited a lot of his skilled success to the alternatives afforded him as a result of Supreme Court docket determination Brown v. Board of Schooling, which discovered segregated public colleges unconstitutional.

He organized Harvard’s Legal Justice Institute, establishing the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice and co-chairing the Reparations Coordinating Committee.

Many recounted how strongly he believed in utilizing the legislation as a catalyst for social and political change, advocating for the empowerment of marginalized communities.

He led efforts to enhance medical coaching in public and indigent protection.

By establishing Harvard’s Legal Justice Institute, Ogletree paved the best way for college kids to realize helpful expertise in Boston’s juvenile and district courts.

Moreover, he created the Saturday Faculty program, supporting Black college students on Harvard’s predominantly white campus.

This system featured a number of influential audio system, together with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, thinker and now presidential candidate Cornel West, and actor Danny Glover.

One notable attendee of the Saturday Faculty was Barack Obama, who thought of Ogletree a mentor and sought his recommendation ceaselessly, even throughout his presidency.

“Michelle and I are heartbroken to listen to concerning the passing of our buddy Charles Ogletree.,” Obama mentioned in an announcement.

“He took time on weekends to run one thing referred to as ‘Saturday Faculty” for Black college students who didn’t essentially have the assist techniques at residence to get them by the tough first years of legislation faculty,” Obama recalled.

The previous president famous that the college had develop into so widespread that college students from each background started displaying as much as hear Ogletree clarify topics in a approach all of them may perceive.

“It was an instance of the sort of particular person Charles has all the time been unfailingly useful, and pushed by a real concern for others,” Obama asserted.

“He was an advocate for social justice, an unbelievable professor, and a mentor to many – together with us.”

Ogletree is survived by his spouse, Pamela Barnes, and his kids, Charles Ogletree III and Rashida Ogletree.


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