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.
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