TheGrio Awards, The Justice Icon: Ben Crump

The civil rights lawyer has been dubbed "Black America's attorney general" for leading the fight against police violence and systemic racism.

(Photo by PurplePPL Media)

The high-profile cases Ben Crump represents are the cases that force America to stop congratulating itself on defeating its hardwired racism. The names have been our battle cry: Trayvon Martin. Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Michael Brown.

Inspired by the landmark case-making strategies of Thurgood Marshall—and mirroring the fervor that drove the legal pioneer’s body of work—Crump leads a powerhouse civil rights and personal injury practice to fight against systemic assaults on Black and brown people. 

Named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People” of 2021, Crump has won cash settlements in more than 200 police-violence cases. Rev. Al Sharpton called him “Black America’s attorney general,” and it’s true—where there’s injustice, there is Ben Crump. Standing with Black farmers in a class-action suit against the U.S. government and residents living with lead-contaminated water in Flint, Mich. Representing students denied adequate education in the embattled Baltimore City public school system. Calling out beauty giant L’Oréal for exposing Black women to uterine cancer. Clients repeatedly say Crump feels like family and that his attention to them, particularly after media interest disappears, is proof positive that he cares about people, not headlines.


Janelle Harris Dixon is a writer, journalist and editor in southeast Washington, D.C., with a special love for covering stories at the intersection of race, gender, class and culture.

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