Named for a Harvard law professor who instructed Barack Obama

The Associated Press

California’s MERCED (AP) — In honour of a native boy who transitioned from farming to a prominent career at Harvard Law School, where he taught Barack and Michelle Obama, a courthouse in the heart of California’s agricultural region bears his name.

Charles James Ogletree Jr.’s achievements to law, education, and civil rights were recognised at a ceremony Friday renaming the Merced County courthouse, according to the Fresno Bee.

The late musician Tupac Shakur was defended by Ogletree, 70, in both criminal and civil proceedings after Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his 1991 nomination hearings for the United States Supreme Court. Also, he unsuccessfully campaigned for compensation for Black residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma who had survived a 1921 race-crime slaughter by white people.

The Harvard-retired legal academic, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2020, was unable to attend. Yet dozens of people, including judges and well-known members of the community, including a brother and a sister.

Ogletree has spoken about his poor upbringing in a neighbourhood of Black and brown family on the south side of the railroad tracks in Merced. He harvested peaches, almonds, and cotton in the summer while his parents worked as seasonal agricultural labourers. Following his undergraduate studies, he attended Harvard Law School.

The Associated Press

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