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File #: 170343    Version: 0 Name:
Type: Resolution Status: ADOPTED
File created: 4/6/2017 In control: CITY COUNCIL
On agenda: Final action: 4/6/2017
Title: Honoring and commemorating the legacy of William T. Coleman, Jr. Esq., former U.S. Transportation Secretary, pioneering figure in the movement for racial equality in the United States, and native of Philadelphia, who passed away at 96 years old on March 31, 2017.
Sponsors: Councilmember Johnson, Councilmember Bass, Councilmember Reynolds Brown, Councilmember Parker, Councilmember Taubenberger, Councilmember Squilla, Councilmember Gym, Councilmember Green, Councilmember Blackwell, Councilmember Domb, Councilmember Jones, Councilmember Quiñones Sánchez, Councilmember Greenlee, Councilmember Henon, Councilmember Oh
Attachments: 1. Signature17034300.pdf
Title
Honoring and commemorating the legacy of William T. Coleman, Jr. Esq., former U.S. Transportation Secretary, pioneering figure in the movement for racial equality in the United States, and native of Philadelphia, who passed away at 96 years old on March 31, 2017.

Body
WHEREAS, William Thaddeus Coleman, Jr., was born in Philadelphia on July 7, 1920. Better known as Bill, Mr. Coleman grew up in Germantown, raised by parents who were themselves prominent leaders in the City's African-American community; and

WHEREAS, In his early days at Germantown High School, Bill Coleman was subjected to blatant and egregious racial discrimination, as the school's all-white swim team chose to disband rather than allow an African-American to join, only to be re-established after Coleman's graduation. Coleman was victimized even by the school's faculty; after a presentation to his honors English class, Bill recalled the teacher saying, "Someday, William, you will make a wonderful chauffeur"; and

WHEREAS, In 1941, Mr. Coleman nevertheless graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was also inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. After beginning his legal studies at Harvard Law School, Mr. Coleman enlisted in the United States Army in 1943. Upon his return to Harvard, Mr. Coleman became the first African-American student accepted to a position on the Harvard Law Review; and

WHEREAS, Only a few years into his legal career, Bill Coleman would earn a clerkship with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, becoming the first African-American to hold such a position with the nation's highest court. Coleman would later return to the Supreme Court to successfully argue several landmark civil rights cases, including Loving v. Virginia, which found laws prohibiting interracial marriage to be unconstitutional; and

WHEREAS, After moving into private practice, Coleman was recruited by then-chief counsel for the NAACP and future Supreme C...

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