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Loyola at a Glance Faculty/Staff Newsletter

College of Law centennial honors Civil Rights pioneer

October 7, 2014

Later this month, the observance of Loyola University New Orleans College of Law’s significance in equal rights history during the past century continues by celebrating the legacy of alumnus Judge James Skelly Wright, LL.B. ’34, a trailblazer who devoted his entire public life to protecting the poor and fighting to end racial segregation. This celebration coincides with the College of Law's centennial this year.

On Friday, Oct. 24 at 5 p.m., the College of Law will honor Wright with the unveiling of a new bronze bust, created by local sculptor Thomas Bruno, to be placed at the entrance of the school. The unveiling follows the daylong symposium, “In Pursuit of Justice, Service to Others, and Dignity for All: A Mission Made Manifest in the Work of Judge J. Skelly Wright.” The symposium will be held in room 308 of the College of Law, which is offering 5.25 free hours of continuing legal education credit for attendees. Registration is available online at www.loyno.edu/cle and the event begins at 10:30. For more information, please contact Jessica Howard at jkhoward@loyno.edu. The event is free and open to the public.

“I believe Judge Wright is the essence of what the College of Law is about—a commitment to social justice and the public interest—and his work is a testament to the Jesuit ideals. The bronze sculpture and symposium are small but important recognitions of what this student, graduate, teacher and jurist meant to Loyola, New Orleans, Louisiana and the United States,” said College of Law Dean María Pabón López, J.D.

Speakers in the symposium will discuss topics including Wright’s contributions to constitutional law in the context of individual rights and equal protection; his views on campaign finance and political equality; his personal sacrifices made as a result of his decisions regarding desegregation and civil rights; and his contributions to and work in federal administrative law.

Wright, a native of New Orleans, was appointed to the federal bench in 1949. Barely a year into his service on the U.S. District Court in New Orleans, he began the work of enfranchising blacks in Louisiana and desegregating New Orleans and state institutions including Louisiana State University and New Orleans public schools. President John F. Kennedy recognized his work when he appointed him in 1962 to the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit.

The J. Skelly Wright Memorial Fund has also been established, which will support a College of Law scholarship. For more information on the memorial fund or to contribute, contact professor M. Isabel Medina.

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