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George Howard Jr.

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Name  George Jr.
Role  Attorney

Spouse  Vivian Howard
Occupation  Judge, attorney
Succeeded by  Brian Stacy Miller
George Howard, Jr. arblackhalloffameorgwpcontentuploads201307h
Born  May 13, 1924 Pine Bluff, Arkansas (1924-05-13)
Children  three daughters, one son
Alma mater  Lincoln University, University of Arkansas School of Law
Died  April 21, 2007, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, United States
Education  University of Arkansas School of Law, University of Arkansas, Lincoln University

Nominated by  President Jimmy Carter
Nominated by  Governor David Pryor
Nominated by  Governor Bill Clinton

George Howard Jr. (May 13, 1924 – April 21, 2007) was an American World War II veteran, attorney, and a federal judge. He was the first African-American U.S. District Court judge in Arkansas. He initially served concurrently on the District Courts for both the Eastern District and Western District of Arkansas, then in 1990 was assigned exclusively to the Eastern District. Howard played an important role in the Whitewater controversy, presiding over several Whitewater-related cases, including the separate trials of Jim and Susan McDougal, and once called on President Bill Clinton to testify.

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Early life

Howard was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas in 1924. As a teenager he left home to serve in the United States Navy during World War II, a time when he was subjected to racism that would inspire him to become a lawyer. Howard served in the Navy from 1943 to 1946, and after completing his military service he finished high school and went on to Lincoln University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri, where he graduated with honors from their pre-law program. He then entered the University of Arkansas and became the first African-American to live in campus housing at the school. Howard enrolled in law school at the university and received his juris doctorate in 1954. Hon. Mike Ross. Howard is named as one of the "Six Pioneers," the first six African-American students to attend to University of Arkansas School of Law. Howard then returned to Pine Bluff and established a law practice, which he operated from 1954–1977, and in 1979. During this period he ran his only political campaign, an unsuccessful city council bid, and served as president of the State Council of Branches for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Judicial career

Governor Winthrop Rockefeller appointed Howard to the Arkansas State Claims Commission in 1967, and was Chairman of the Commission from 1969 until 1977, when Governor David Pryor named him Arkansas Supreme Court justice. In 1979 Governor Bill Clinton appointed Howard as a judge on the Arkansas Court of Appeals. Howard would hold this position only briefly, as President Jimmy Carter appointed him federal judge for the Eastern and Western districts of Arkansas in 1980 to fill a seat vacated by Richard S. Arnold, a position he would hold until his death in 2007. In 1990 his service was restricted to only the Eastern district of Arkansas. Howard became the first African-American in the history of Arkansas to serve as a state Supreme Court justice, Court of Appeals judge, and federal judge.State’s First Black Federal Judge, George Howard, Dead at 82 - ArkansasBusiness.com Judge Howard played an important judicial role in the Whitewater trial, which led to the downfall of then- Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker and the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998. During the Whitewater trials, Judge Howard called for video testimony from Clinton, the man who had appointed him to the court of appeals years earlier. A member of the 1994 class of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame, Judge Howard was known for his fairness and commitment to civil rights. He made the daily drive from his home in Pine Bluff to Little Rock to carry out his judicial duties, despite being slowed in his later years by declining health.

Legacy

Judge George Howard, Jr. died April 21, 2007, at Jefferson Regional Medical Center, after battling health issues for several years. Three days later, on April 24, U.S. Representative Mike Ross and Arkansas Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor introduced legislation before the House of Representatives and the Senate to rename the Pine Bluff federal building and courthouse after Judge Howard. Ross, Mike Howard was honored on the floor of the House of Representatives on April 26, 2007. The legislation, brought before the House as H.R. bill 2011, renamed the building on 100 East 8th Avenue in Pine Bluff as the George Howard, Jr. Federal Building and United States Courthouse. Howard, whose portrait hangs in the federal courthouses in Pine Bluff and Little Rock, has a scholarship fund maintained in his honor, The George Howard Junior Scholarship Fund at the William H. Bowen School of Law, University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Howard was inducted posthumously into the Lincoln University Hall of Fame on October 10, 2008.

References

George Howard Jr. Wikipedia


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