The 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture speaker is one of the nation’s true civil rights giants: William T. Coleman Jr.
Mr. Coleman was born in Philadelphia in 1920. His extraordinary accomplishments include: advisor to ten U.S. Presidents; Secretary of Transportation in the Ford Administration; 1995 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award; and 1997 recipient of the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. He was the first African American to clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court and the first African American to serve on the editorial board of the Harvard Law Review. Coleman was a co-author of the legal brief in Brown v. Board of Education. He is also the former President of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and served as Counsel to the Warren Commission. In 2010, he published his autobiography, titled Counsel for the Situation: Shaping the Law to Realize America’s Promise.
Mr. Coleman and his daughter, Lovida Jr., gave a talk on Mr. Coleman’s autobiography. Mr. Coleman signed copies of his book, which were available for sale in the Lewis & Clark Law School Bookstore.