"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Saturday, April 08, 2017

The Incredible Life of William T. Coleman Jr.: A Black Man Who Was a Real Hero in the Fields of Law and Politics

There are few lives and careers so massively filled with impressive achievements as the life of William Thaddeus Coleman, Jr., who passed away on March 31, 2017 as the oldest then still living former Cabinet member.

Just read the obituary of William T. Coleman Jr. by Dennis Hevesi at the New York Times.

Coleman's life is celebrated at the Paul, Weiss Alumni Network at LinkedIn -- of which I am a member as a former Paul, Weiss associate -- via Brian Sogol, Alumni Manager at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, who quotes current Paul, Weiss Chairman Brad Karp as follows:

Bill graduated #1 from Harvard Law School in 1946, served as the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review, and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter (alongside Eliot Richardson).

Bill tried to land a law firm associate position in his home town of Philadelphia, but was rejected by every law firm at which he interviewed. Through a serendipitous encounter with then-Paul, Weiss associate (and later a respected federal district judge and dean of both Yale Law School and Penn Law School) Louis Pollack, Bill was introduced to Louis Weiss, interviewed at Paul, Weiss and was offered a litigation associate position. Bill commuted daily from Philadelphia to Paul, Weiss's New York office for three years (1949-1952). While at Paul, Weiss, Bill worked with Thurgood Marshall on the historic Brown v Board of Education matter, ultimately leaving the firm to join the NAACP to fight full time for racial justice. Bill spent the next 65 years breaking down barrier upon barrier.


Hevesi at the New York Times writes about Coleman inter alia as follows:

"His memoir, “Counsel for the Situation,” was written with Mr. Bliss and had a foreword by Justice Stephen Breyer. In it, Mr. Coleman reflected on his own life and on the American legal system, and paid tribute to the people who had influenced him — blacks and whites, Republicans and Democrats.

“They shared the strong conviction,” he wrote, “that individual talent, brilliance and effort can and will change the course of history.
”" [emphasis added by LawPundit]

__________
As noted in an April 3, 2017 correction at the New York Times to set the "small detail" facts exactly straight: "An earlier version of this obituary misstated the year Mr. Coleman graduated from Harvard Law School. It was 1946, not 1947. It also attributed a distinction to him erroneously. He was not the first black member of the Harvard Law Review; Charles Hamilton Houston had served on the board in the early 20th century. And the branch of the service that Mr. Coleman joined was rendered incorrectly. It was the Army Air Forces, not the Army Air Corps.



Most Popular Posts of All Time

Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1 :
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
,
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2 :
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    ,
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.

    -----

    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
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    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
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    These landmarks were placed systematically
    in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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