1963: President Kennedy urges active support of the rule of law and racial equality, leading to the launch of LC.
1964: LC begins representing The National Council of Churches to encourage lawyers in the state to represent Blacks who are disadvantaged in the legal system . When those efforts fail, volunteers go to work representing clients throughout Mississippi, mostly in criminal cases.
1967: LC begins addressing problems in South Africa, continuing for 30 years through the end of apartheid in South Africa.
1968: Civil Rights Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing after long-standing efforts by the LC and other activists. LC begins its Urban Areas Project.
1982: The LC plays a central role in advocating for the Supreme Court re-authorization of the Voting Rights Act in 1982, which had been previously altered.
1988: Overriding President Reagan’s veto, Congress passes the Civil Rights Restoration Act, expanding non-discrimination laws in private institutions receiving federal funds. LC’s Southern Africa Project is a key player in the successful evolution to majority rule in Namibia.
2005: LC takes immediate action in the Gulf after Hurricane Katrina, focusing on displaced homeowners and renters’ assistance from FEMA. LC brings first challenge to FEMA’s failed response and helped stop the negligent displacement of thousands of people.
2008: LC and partners file federal lawsuit against Housing and Urban Development to challenge a Mississippi plan to divert nearly $600 million of hurricane recovery funds to finance other expansions in the Gulf.
2009: LC represents students and alumni from historically Black colleges and universities, supports passage of Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which improved access to collegiate education and fair pay for women.
2010: President Ronald Reagan launched the War on Drugs in 1982, which led to a spike in Black incarceration due to crack-cocaine sentencing disparities, and LC took steps to support policy that reduced that disparity ratio from 100:1 to 18:1.
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Today is the 50th anniversary of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
The Lawyers’ Committee is a non profit organization that has made efforts to use bar-certified lawyers to do pro bono work to help combat racial discrimination in the courtroom.
President John F. Kennedy urged people to support equality under the law, and commissioned the group in 1963.
Since then, the Lawyers’ Committee has achieved significant results in providing disadvantaged people and issues affecting them with meaningful representation.
President Kennedy was not the only president to recognize the achievements of this organization. The White House released a statement that said President Obama will commemorate the anniversary by holding a reception in the East Room.
Those in attendance will include members of the Obama administration, members of Congress, civil rights leaders, and the organizers of the Lawyers’ Committee.
The Grio has compiled a list of some of the Lawyer’s Committee’s most important milestones.