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Council honors civil rights “defender” Henry McGee

Summary

Law professor who defended “Freedom Summer” protestors recognized

Story

McGee_FB 
Professor Henry McGee with members
of the Metropolitan King County Council
and fellow professors from Seattle University’s
Law School
(l-r) Natasha Martin, Associate Dean
and Associate Professor at Seattle University
Law School, Jeffrey Eustis, Adjunct Professor
at Seattle University Law School Seattle University
Professor Victoria Kill, Professor Henry McGee

Before becoming the first African-American tenured Professor of Law at both the UCLA School of Law and the Seattle University School of Law, Henry “Hank” McGee was an attorney who came to the aid of civil rights heroes during the “Freedom Summer” of 1965. The Metropolitan King County Council recognized Professor McGee during its April 27 meeting, honoring a career and life dedicated to racial and economic justice. The recognition was the Monday after Seattle University recognized Professor McGee’s career with an on campus celebration.

“Hank McGee has an astounding history of five decades of being on the frontlines of civil and human rights in this country,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett, the sponsor of the recognition. “However, even though Hank is retiring, he is not retiring from being active in the struggle.”

Professor McGee defended members of the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee (SNCC) who were arrested in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer for their efforts to help register African-American voters.

McGee was at UCLA for 25 years, teaching law courses as well as directing the university’s Center for Afro-American Studies. He left UCLA for the campus of Seattle University, where he has taught for the last two decades.

McGee dedication to racial and economic justice has extended beyond teaching and has mentored two generations of African-American law students. He has been an advocate and influential scholar who has worked to expose inequities in housing, particularly the displacement of African Americans. He has highlighted issues of gentrification, land use, environmental impact, and community development, particularly in studies of Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles.

Professor McGee’s advocacy for communities of color has made him a global citizen. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Madrid, as well as stints as a visiting scholar and teacher at more than 30 universities in Europe, Latin America, and Africa.

After more than 50 years of service to the African-American community and the world, Henry McGee is getting ready for retirement, but he will continue to be a valuable resource in the community on issues of race and economic justice.


 

 RECOGNITION

WHEREAS, Henry “Hank” W. McGee, Jr. paved the way for generations of African Americans in the legal profession and academia, becoming the first African American tenured Professor of Law at both the Seattle University School of Law (1994-2015) and the University of California - Los Angeles School of Law (1969-1994), where he also served as the Director of the Center for Afro-American Studies; and

WHEREAS, Hank served as a lawyer during the Civil Rights Movement for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in 1965 after Freedom Summer, representing arrested demonstrators throughout Mississippi; and

WHEREAS, Hank is a scholar-activist who has dedicated his life to racial and economic justice, not only through teaching and mentoring, but also through advocacy, action, and influential scholarship that has exposed inequities in housing, particularly the displacement of African Americans, and has highlighted issues of gentrification, land use, environmental impact, and community development, particularly in studies of Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles; and

WHEREAS, Hank is an engaged global citizen who has shared his intellect and wisdom around the world as a twice-decorated Fulbright Scholar in Madrid, as well as visits and teaching appointments at more than 30 universities in Europe, Latin America, and Africa; and

WHEREAS, Hank has a record of dedicated community service, serving on boards, including Futurewise and the Low Income Housing Institute, and has received numerous awards and accolades locally and nationally for lifetime contributions, including the 2011 Clyde Ferguson Award from the Association of American Law Schools, which annually honors an outstanding law teacher; and

WHEREAS, Hank is now retiring after a distinguished career that spans five decades but will remain an active and invaluable community resource and thought leader on issues of race and economic justice;

NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, recognize


 HENRY W. McGEE, Jr.

for his numerous accomplishments and his distinguished legacy.

DATED this twenty-third day of April, 2015.

 



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206-296-1024
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