Noted defense attorney Charles Ogletree dies

Charles Ogletree, renowned defense attorney and Harvard Law School professor known for his fight for racial equality and social justice, has died at the age of 70.

History and impact: Charles Ogletree was a highly respected figure both in academia and in courtrooms.
* Recognized for his advocacy for marginalized communities, he served as a legal counsel for high-profile names like former President Barack Obama, as well as clients like Tupac Shakur, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Anita Hill.
* He also aided South Africa in drafting its new constitution post-apartheid.
* Ogletree authored or contributed to approximately a dozen books and other scholarly works.

Background: Despite humble beginnings, Ogletree rose to become a significant voice in law and social justice.
* Ogletree grew up in poverty in Merced, California, but became a student activist and leader at Stanford University before going on to Harvard Law School.
* His dedication to racial equality and justice over personal gain was epitomized by his decision to become a public defender in Washington, D.C., instead of taking up lucrative corporate jobs.

Legacy: Colleagues and friends remember Ogletree for his tireless advocacy and his relentless pursuit of justice.
* Anita Hill praised his astuteness and advocacy during her allegations of sexual harassment against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.
* Colleague Ted Shaw described him as a “champion of justice,” stating that Ogletree would be remembered for his truth-telling.
* Friend and fellow attorney Dennis Sweet believes he will leave behind an impressive legacy.

Personal battle: Ogletree had been public about his fight against Alzheimer’s disease, bringing attention to an illness that disproportionately affects African Americans.
* His courage in confronting the disease as well as the commitment and care of his family, particularly his wife, Pam Barnes, has been widely praised.
* Despite his diagnosis, he remained active in his professional and personal life, continuing his advocacy work until his passing.

View original article on NPR

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