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Rep. John Lewis on the Death of Judge Horace T. Ward

April 27, 2016
Press Release

 Judge Horace Ward lived a rich and impactful life.  Before Rosa Parks sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and while Martin Luther King Jr. was still studying in Boston, Horace Ward sued for admittance to University of Georgia's law school in September 1952.  He was a contemporary of Martin Luther King Jr, graduating from Morehouse just one year after King.  He earned a degree in political science from Atlanta University and became head of a branch of the NAACP. 

            His legal action against the University of Georgia was subjected to six years of delays.  Ultimately, he graduated from Northwestern University's school of law and returned to Georgia to assist Donald Hollowell and Constance Baker Motley in their defense of Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes who finally integrated the University of Georgia after 175 years of segregation.

            Ward went on to become a member of the Georgia State Senate, a judge in Fulton County Civil Court and the Georgia Superior Court.  In 1979, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the U.S. District Court, and he became the first African American to sit on the federal bench in Georgia.  Rep. Lewis made these comments on his passing:

            "Judge Ward was a quiet, unassuming man who was a fiercely committed and dedicated member of the bar. He was respected by his colleagues and an inspiration to many young lawyers who followed in his footsteps. Through his skillful application of the law and his evenhanded adjudication on the bench, he made a lasting contribution to the struggle for human dignity in America.   We are lucky and very blessed that this intelligent, accomplished man dedicated his life and career to serve the people of Georgia.  We are a better nation and a better people because Judge Horace Ward passed our way."