WBA News

Washington Bar Association News2023-08-22T21:02:07+00:00

In support of this year’s goal of preserving the rich history and legacy of the Washington Bar Association, we are pleased to introduce The WBA Legacy Series podcast. The first two episodes—recorded in September and October—are now available for your listening pleasure on the WBA’s new SoundCloud page. Enjoy, and stay tuned!

In the inaugural episode of the Washington Bar Association (WBA) Legacy Series President Kendra Perkins Norwood sits down with Wiley’s Chief Diversity Officer Rashida MacMurray-Abdullah to discuss the seven Black lawyers in the District of Columbia who founded the WBA in 1925 to advance juris prudence as they were all navigating a racially exclusive society and judicial system. The seven founders include Charles Hamilton Houston, George E.C. Hayes, J. Franklin Wilson, Ulysses Simpson Garnes, Isaiah Lisemby, Louis Rothchild Mehlinger, and Charles E. Robinson. During this episode, they discuss the path that Charles Hamilton Houston, George E.C. Hayes, and Louis Rothchild Mehlinger took to become founders and pioneers in the legal industry and advancing civil rights.

In the second episode of the Washington Bar Association (WBA) Legacy Series, WBA President Kendra Perkins Norwood speaks with Past President and long-time historian of the WBA, Robert Bell, to discuss one of the WBA’s most revered and celebrated members, Attorney Ollie May Cooper. They discuss Ms. Cooper’s legacy, advocacy, and groundbreaking accomplishments in conjunction with the WBA’s 43rd Ollie May Cooper Award Ceremony. As a magna cum laude graduate of Howard Law School in 1921, Ms. Cooper was one of only two women in her class, and she was the first Black woman admitted to the bar by examination. Regarding Ms. Cooper’s incredible accomplishments in the legal community, Mr. Bell recounts the sentiments of WBA Past President Dr. J. Clay Smith, who noted that no one should go through life not knowing the role that Black women have played in the development of the law.

On the final episode of the Washington Bar Association (WBA) Legacy Series, WBA President Kendra Perkins Norwood is joined by her fellow partner from Wiley Rein LLP, Antonio Reynolds, to discuss the life and legacy of former WBA President and Founder Charles Hamilton Houston. Using a rare audio clip from Charles Hamilton Houston himself, the pair discuss the bold challenge that Houston issues to future generations of lawyers committed to using the law as a tool for social change. Kendra and Antonio delve into the connections between past and present, how Charles Hamilton Houston’s words connect to the current mission of the WBA, and offer insightful commentary on the political and historical atmosphere that helped to shape Charles Hamilton Houston’s teachings and his life’s work in the ongoing struggle for civil rights.

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