March 28, 2013
Dear Howard University Community,The Howard University family is deeply saddened by the passing of James Nabrit, III; a civil rights attorney, educator, leader and friend of our community.
Because of his professionalism and dedication to the cause of justice, truth and equality, in 1959 Justice Marshall asked him to join the NAACP Legal Defense Fund staff. He worked tirelessly for civil rights with the Legal Defense Fund for 30 years, beginning as an outside cooperating attorney before becoming Associate Director-Counsel and secretary to the Fund’s Board of Directors.
James Nabrit, III is celebrated by many because of the counsel and strategic advice that he provided concerning a number of historic civil rights cases and events, including Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a case that reaffirmed the constitutionality of affirmative action in higher education; the final Selma to Montgomery march that led to the passage of the 1956 Voting Rights Act; and the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Until his passing, he supported the Howard University School of Law, which held a special place in his heart. Throughout his years at the Legal Defense Fund, he lectured and mentored many Howard School of Law students, cherishing and developing young minds to continue the fight for civil rights and due process for all Americans. In his father’s honor, he helped develop the James Nabrit, Jr. Lecture Series, which annually brought a Supreme Court Justice and a senior federal policy maker to the School of Law. For 20 years, he contributed generously to scholarship programs, which facilitated the matriculation of numerous deserving and dedicated Howard University School of Law students.
The work and passion of James Nabrit, III will forever resonate among the Howard University community, the nation and the world. He was a son, supporter and champion of Howard, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and those who knew and worked with him.
The memorial service for him will be held on Monday, April 1, 2013, beginning at 11:00 a.m., at the Dunbarton Chapel on the campus of the Howard University School of Law.
Sidney A. Ribeau
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