April 03, 2017
Chancellor Deborah R. Gross on the Passing of William T. Coleman, Jr.
Deborah R. Gross, Chancellor of the 12,000-member Philadelphia Bar Association, today issued the following statement on the passing of William T. Coleman, Jr., one of Philadelphia's most noted and accomplished civil rights attorneys, who also was the oldest living former U.S. Cabinet member:
"Philadelphia's legal community has lost a legendary leader with the passing of William T. Coleman, Jr. Mr. Coleman was born in Philadelphia, attended Philadelphia schools, and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. He was a trailblazer for civil rights; becoming the first African-American to serve as a United States Supreme Court law clerk, working alongside Thurgood Marshall on the NAACP desegregation cases, and co-authoring the legal brief in Brown v. Board of Education. He had a distinct and diverse career serving as a staff lawyer for the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and as an adviser to every president from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush. He was presented with the Presidential Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton. His passing is a great loss to his family and our legal community."