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Unprecedented Gathering of Martin Luther King’s Lawyers

King lawyers and leading scholars to offer insights on civil rights icon at daylong symposium

CHICAGO --- Get an unprecedented perspective on Martin Luther King Jr. at a daylong symposium at Northwestern University School of Law that will bring together scholars as well as attorneys who represented the civil rights leader during major phases of his activism.

King’s activism in Chicago will be among the topics of the conversations with attorneys.

Sponsored by the School of Law’s Journal of Law and Social Policy (JLSP), “Martin Luther King’s Lawyers: From Montgomery to the March on Washington to Memphis” will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, in Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago Ave., in Chicago.

Free and open to the public, the event is JLSP’s 8th annual symposium.

The King attorneys who will be featured in the conversations include Clarence B. Jones, first Diversity Visiting Professor at the University of San Francisco and contributing writer to the “I Have a Dream” speech; Northwestern Law alumnus Judge Horace Ward, who represented King in a case against Georgia authorities; and W.J. Michael Cody, of Burch, Porter & Johnson, one of King’s Memphis attorneys.

The symposium also will feature Gil Cornfield and Gil Feldman, who partnered with King to combat housing discrimination during the Chicago Freedom Movement (1965 to 1966).

“This symposium is truly exceptional, as these individuals who represented Dr. King in nearly every one of his major movements have never before gathered together to discuss their experiences,” said Kimberly Seymour, JLSP symposium chair and a JD-LLM program student.

Clayborne Carson, Martin Luther King Jr. Centennial Professor of History, and Ronnie Lott, founding director of The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University, will give remarks about King’s lawyers.

Aldon Morris, the Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and  African American Studies at Northwestern, will give an overview of King’s career. Darlene Clark Hine, Board of Trustees Professor of African American Studies and professor of history at Northwestern, will participate in a conversation about Fred Gray, King’s first attorney and Rosa Parks’ lawyer; that discussion also will include Northwestern Law alumnus Jonathan Entin, associate dean for academic affairs, the David L. Brennan Professor of Law and professor of political science at Case Western Reserve Law School.

Len Rubinowitz, professor of law at Northwestern and faculty advisor to the JLSP, has been working on an article about King’s lawyers over the last year and proposed the topic for the annual symposium.

“The editors got excited about the idea, and Kimberly and others have worked extremely hard to make it happen,” Rubinowitz said. “The symposium will lead to an issue of the journal that will include a transcript of the symposium and my article on King’s lawyers.”

*This program has been approved for the following credit hours of CLE:  5 general credit hours.

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