Sept. 12, 2007 -- Richmond civil rights attorney Oliver W. Hill Sr. will be honored at the University of Virginia School of Law's Caplin Auditorium on Sept. 13 at 5 p.m.
“Virginia's Freedom Fighter: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Oliver W. Hill Sr.” will feature a panel discussion and the presentation of an award named after Hill, who died Aug. 5 at the age of 100. The inaugural Oliver W. Hill Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to the attorney’s son, Oliver Hill Jr., chair of the psychology department at Virginia State University. The Center for the Study of Race and Law will then annually give the award to a scholar or attorney who embodies Hill's commitment to social justice and has made significant contributions to civil rights law and scholarship.
The panel, which will discuss Hill’s legacy, is scheduled to include:
• Robert M. O'Neil, former president of the University of Virginia, emeritus professor of law and founding director of The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression;
• Claudrena N. Harold, assistant professor of history and African-American studies;
• The Hon. Henry L. Marsh III, the first African-American mayor of Richmond, Va., state senator from Virginia's 16th Senate District, and Hill's legal partner at Hill, Tucker, & Marsh PLLC;
• Tomiko Brown-Nagin (moderator), professor of law and history and F. Palmer Weber Research Professor in Civil Liberties and Human Rights.
Hill graduated second in his class from Howard University's School of Law in 1933, surpassed only by his close friend, future United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Hill was an integral part of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and was counsel in Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Va., which became part of the Supreme Court's landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954. Hill also served as counsel in the cases that helped to desegregate the Charlottesville public schools and the University of Virginia in 1950s.
The panel discussion and award presentation, which are free and open to the public, are sponsored by the Black Law Students Association; Center for the Study of Race and Law; Office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity; Carter G. Woodson Institute for Afro-American and African Studies; and the Office of the Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer.