In Memoriam: James Madison Nabrit III, 1932-2013

James M. Nabrit-smallerJames M. Nabrit III, a prominent civil right attorney who argued several important cases involving education before the U.S. Supreme Court, has died at a hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. He was 80 years old and suffered from lung cancer.

Nabrit was the son of James M. Nabrit Jr., who served as president of Howard University in the 1960s. After graduating from Bates College in Maine, Nabrit III earned his law degree at Yale. In 1959, he joined the staff at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Nabrit defended several groups of African American college students who were arrested for sit-ins at segregated lunchcounters in the South. He also served as counsel on school desegregation cases in several states.

In a statement the Legal Defense Fund said, “James M. Nabrit III helped move America closer to meeting its promises of equality and justice for all.  His passion, vision and brilliance shaped decades of successful litigation of LDF. His passing is an opportunity to celebrate that progress and the critical role he played in moving the society forward.  It is also an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to completing the task and finishing the job to which he dedicated his life.”


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