| Black History Month |
December 19, 1917 - December 27, 2004
A native of Wichita, Kansas, Donald Hollowell pursued law after experiencing discrimination serving in the US Army during World War II. In 1951, Hollowell earned a law degree from Loyola University Chicago school of Law, and moved to Atlanta, GA, in 1952 to set up a law practice, what is today Hollowell Foster Herring PC.
Hollowell became well known for fighting racial segregation in the State of Georgia. Hollowell sued the University of Georgia, charging the institution with racist admission policies. The suit ended in 1961 with a federal court order demanding the admission of two African American students, Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton E. Holmes.
In 1960, Hollowell and co-counsel Horace Ward won a victory in the Court of Appeals of Georgia which secured the release of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from the Georgia State Prison. In another case, Hollowell and members of his firm prevented the electrocution of a 15-year-old black youth from Monticello, Georgia, five days before the scheduled execution. Hollowell and civil rights champion C. B. King also defended Dr. King and hundreds of civil rights activists in the historic civil rights campaign in Albany, Georgia known as the Albany Movement.
In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Hollowell as regional director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a government agency that monitors workplace discrimination. This appointment made Hollowell the first black regional director of a major federal agency. Hollowell remained with the EEOC for nearly 20 years. Hollowell also served as president of the Voter Education Project, where he helped increase the number of African-American voters from 3 million to 5.5 million.
In 2002, the University of Georgia awarded Hollowell its honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
Hollowell died on December 27, 2004 of heart failure.
To honor him, the City of Atlanta renamed Bankhead Highway (U.S. 78) in his honor; Emory University named a professorship in his honor, as well.
| Black History Month |
As a young man, Brown was an integral part of the youth force that fought for integration and the civil rights of African American citizens in the state of Georgia. In 1963, when the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools directed the integration of Groves and Savannah High Schools, the NAACP and the Chatham County Crusade for Voters identified him as one of the primary African-American students capable of taking on the daunting task. His training in civil disobedience coupled with his outstanding intellectual abilities made him a primary candidate for the integration of Groves High School.
In June of 2015, the State Bar of Georgia and the Center for Civil and Human Rights, formally recognized Attorney Brown's efforts as part of the Celebration of Civil Rights Milestones in Atlanta, Georgia.
Besides actively engaging in the Civil Rights struggle, Sage also answered the call to duty by serving his nation during the Vietnam War. During the period of May 1966 through March 1973, he served as an officer during three combat tours, including a thirty-month combat tour as a Infantry Rifle Platoon Leader. At the conclusion of his service, Sage had earned the rank of Captain, and was awarded a Bronze Star Medal (with one oak leaf cluster), a Purple Heart Medal, an Army Commendation Medal (with one oak leaf cluster), the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal (with nine bronze service stars), the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Training Service Medal 1st Class and the Combat Infantry Badge. Moreover, during the latter part of his military service, Sage attended school at night and completed requirements for a bachelor's degree in December of 1972.
After being honorably discharged from the United States Army, Augusta College-now Georgia Regents University-conferred the degree of Bachelor of Business Administration to him in June of 1973. He also earned a Master of Business Administration from the Joint Graduate Center of Savannah State and Armstrong State Colleges in 1975. While serving as the Division Manager of Industrial Relations for the Woodlands Division of Continental Forest Industries, Sage earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the John Marshall Law School, and passed the Georgia Bar Examination in 1978.
"Sage wanted to be a criminal lawyer, he wanted to help people accused of crimes,” said Chatham County Recorder’s Court Judge Harris Odell Jr in a Savannah Morning News article in 2015.
| Black History Month |
Styles L. Hutchins
Hutchins returned to Georgia, fought for admission to the state bar in Atlanta, and after a six-month struggle he became the first African American attorney admitted to the Georgia bar. A certificate recognizing his status as an attorney and permitting him to plead cases in Georgia courts was issued January 28, 1878. Styles Hutchins became not only the first African American attorney admitted to the Georgia bar but also the first to plead a case before a judge in the state.
In 1881 Hutchins moved to Chattanooga and opened a law office. He also partnered with other local African Americans to establish a newspaper, The Independent Age, which Hutchins edited. In 1886 Hutchins was elected to a single term to the Tennessee General Assembly as a Republican. He was the second Chattanooga black to serve in the legislature; the first was William C. Hodge. Hutchins also once held a patronage position in the revenue department of the U.S. Treasury.
In 1906 Styles and his partner Noah Parden became the first African Americans to make an oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Find out more about Styles Hutchins here.