Walter Gordon was a L.A. civil rights lawyer with a list of clients ranging from dining-car waiters aboard the train to singer Billie Holiday.
It was Walter Gordon who defended Holiday when she was accused of assaulting a white customer at a local nightclub. The customer disturbed the singer while she was performing “Strange Fruit,” a song about lynching. Gordon got the case dismissed.
In the 1940’s, when the federal government was suing dozens of the black dining-car waiters for tax evasion, Walter Gordon got the case settled with a minor fine.
People lined up in front of Walter Gordon’s office, which was one of only 30 black law firms in the entire state of California. In another 1940’s case, Gordon defended a number of black deputy sheriffs who had made an off-duty arrest while armed. During that era, it was illegal for blacks, even those who were deputies, to carry weapons. With the skillful use of medieval law references, Gordon got the cases dismissed.
A Santa Monica, C.A. native, Gordon’s work ethic likely came from his father, who delivered mail on horseback in Pasadena. An only child, Gordon’s first job was selling newspapers outside of a building where a local civil rights organization met. It was there that Gordon would hear the lawyers speaking and thus, inspired his future steps in law.
In 1936, Walter Gordon received his law degree from Ohio State University. He opened up an office directly across from the California Eagle, a publication started in 1897 by an escaped slave. Interestingly, Gordon collected old photos from the publication over the years, then donated them to UCLA.
Unfortunately, Walter Gordon’s parents were both killed at home in 1949. As a result, Gordon refused to take any more violent criminal court cases.
Walter Gordon’s practice was in the Los Angeles African-American community for 65 years, even when the L.A. Bar Association had a “Whites Only” clause. He served as a mentor in the community for many young black lawyers starting their firms.
Walter Gordon passed away on April 16th. He was 103 years old.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
28 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
1 of 28
2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
2 of 28
3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
3 of 28
4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
4 of 28
5. Jus haaaanngin out
5 of 28
6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
6 of 28
7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
7 of 28
8. new new
8 of 28
9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
9 of 28
10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
10 of 28
11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
11 of 28
12 of 28
13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
13 of 28
14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
14 of 28
15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
15 of 28
16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
16 of 28
17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
17 of 28
18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
18 of 28
19. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
19 of 28
20 of 28
21. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
21 of 28
22. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
22 of 28
23. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
23 of 28
24. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
24 of 28
25. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
25 of 28
26. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
26 of 28
27. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
27 of 28
28. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
28 of 28