LAWFUEL – Oliver W. Hill, a civil rights lawyer who was at the front of the legal effort that desegregated public schools, died yesterday at his home in Richmond. He was 100.
In 1954, Mr. Hill was part of a series of lawsuits against racially segregated public schools that became the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, which changed U.S. society by setting the foundation for integrated education, the Baltimore Sun reports.
“He was among the vanguard in seeking equal opportunity for all individuals, and he was steadfast in his commitment to effect change. He will be missed,” said Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder, who in 1989 became the nation’s first elected black governor and was a confidant of Mr. Hill’s.
In 1940, Mr. Hill won his first civil rights case in Virginia, one that required equal pay for black and white teachers. Eight years later, he was the first African-American elected to Richmond’s City Council since Reconstruction.
A lawsuit argued by Mr. Hill in 1951 on behalf of students protesting deplorable conditions at their high school for blacks in Farmville, Va., became one of five cases decided under Brown.