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Oliver White Hill, Sr. Social Action Award


The Executive Board of the National Black Law Students Association is pleased to announce the annual Oliver White Hill, Sr. Social Action Award. Oliver White Hill, Sr. was a civil rights attorney from Richmond, VA. In 1940, Hill won his first civil rights case in Virginia, and in 1943, he joined the US Army and served in the European Theatre of World War II. Five years later, he was the first black elected to the Richmond City Council since Reconstruction. In 1954, Hill was involved in the series of lawsuits against racially segregated public schools that became the Supreme Court's landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.

During the 1940s and 1950s, the safety of Hill's life and family were threatened by his work and at one point a cross was burned on the Hills' lawn. Yet, his work against racial discrimination helped end the doctrine of "separate but equal." He also helped win landmark legal decisions involving equality in pay for black teachers, access to school buses, voting rights, jury selection, and employment protection. Oliver Hill received numerous awards in recognition of his years of service, including the Presidential Medal Freedom, awarded by President Bill Clinton in 1999. L. Douglas Wilder, who in 1989 became the nation's first elected black governor said, "He was among the vanguard in seeking equal opportunity for all individuals, and he was steadfast in his commitment to effect change. He will be missed." Oliver Hill, Sr. died at the age of 100, after almost 60 years of practicing law.

NBLSA remembers his contributions to our community through the Oliver White Hill, Sr. Social Action Award. The NBLSA Oliver Hill Social Action Award goes to an individual whose actions best represent his life's work.

Nominations are due on or before February 26, 2014 at 11:59p.m. EST.

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