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Trailblazing jurist to speak at UVa Law MLK Celebration

John Charles Thomas, the first Black justice to serve on the Supreme Court of Virginia, will speak at the University of Virginia Law School about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 26.

Thomas, a UVa alumnus, was appointed to the state Supreme Court in 1983 at age 32. His recent memoir “The Poetic Justice” details his upbringing in the Jim Crow South, as well as his life as a lawyer and judge. After resigning from the Supreme Court in 1989 due to health reasons, Thomas worked as a senior partner at a law firm and served on the College of William & Mary board of visitors.

The talk is sponsored by the school’s Center for the Study of Race and Law as well as the Black Law Students Association. Thomas’ appearance is part of UVa’s larger Community MLK Celebration, which lasts from Jan. 14-31.

The event is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Jan. 26 in Caplin Pavilion and is open to the public.


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