Civil Rights Attorney and Social Justice Advocate, Lewis Myers, Jr. Dies at 70

A Fighter for Social and Civil Rights

Civil Rights attorney and former NAACP deputy director, Lewis Myers, Jr. died last Thursday night at a Chicago rehab facility after surgery complications according to the Washington Informer. His long and prestigious career in law and civil rights impacted many in the Black community. 

As a member of the Illinois Bar, the Bar of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Bar of the Federal Appellate Court for the Third Circuit, the Bar for the Federal Appellate Court for the Fifth Circuit, the Bar of the United States Federal District Court for the Northern District of California, and the Bar for the Federal Court of Claims, he was well regarded as a champion of the voiceless. 

Growing up, he served his community as president for the NAACP Youth Council in Houston. There, he was involved in the boycott of the Houston Public School system and their segregation policies. 

In 1973, he was one of several lawyers who filed the historic case of Ayers vs. Mississippi. The case led to the desegregation of educational institutions of higher learning in the United States after reaching the United States Supreme Court. 

He continued his work by filing more than six landmark lawsuits against county jails in the State of Mississippi for inhumane conditions and the treatment of their inmates that set precedents in the area of jail reform litigation across the country.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Myers continued his work by filing more than six landmark lawsuits against county jails in the State of Mississippi for inhumane conditions and the treatment of their inmates that set precedents in the area of jail reform litigation across the country.

He also represented an 8-year-old boy accused of killing Ryan Harris, whose battered body was found in 1998 behind an abandoned building in the 6500 block of South Parnell. The case drew widespread attention because the investigation of the death was botched. Criminal charges against that boy and another child, just 7 at the time, were thrown out. DNA evidence later linked an adult to the death, and he pleaded guilty.

In one of his first major cases, Mr. Myers worked in 1977 with famed defense lawyer William Kunstler on behalf of Assata Shakur, a godmother of Tupac Shakur. After being convicted of fatally shooting a state trooper in New Jersey, she fled to Cuba.

Myers endless contributions in the fight for civil and social justice led him to teach others as an associate professor at Chicago State University and working on countless crusades. His travels included a trip to South Africa as part of the delegation to discuss social issues with government officials with Rev. Jesse Jackson. 

A member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., 100 Black Men (Founder of Chicago Chapter), and the Black Men’s Forum.

He is survived by and son, Lewis Myers III, his sister Florence and one grandchild. 

SOURCE: Washington Informer, Chicago Sun-Times

 

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