Assemblyman Gray Seeks to Rename Merced Courthouse for Dr. Ogletree – Merced County Times


Assemblyman Adam C. Gray (D-Merced), the Merced County NAACP and the CA/HI State Conference NAACP today announced the introduction of legislation to rename the Merced County Superior Courthouse for noted civil rights attorney and jurist Dr. Charles James Ogletree Jr.

“I am proud to partner with the NAACP in honoring Dr. Ogletree and his incredible contributions to our national conversation on equality, race, and civil rights,” Assemblyman Gray said. “As we continue to fight racial bias in the criminal justice system, renaming our courthouse to Dr. Ogletree will be a fitting reminder of both his legacy in the legal profession and the lessons that he spent his life promoting and teaching.”

From humble beginnings in his hometown of Merced, Dr. Ogletree went on to earn a master’s degree at Stanford and his Juris Doctor at Harvard before embarking on a prolific career focused on advancing civil rights, racial justice and tolerance. social. In addition to his influential writings as a jurist, Dr. Ogletree inspired generations of law students as a Harvard professor, including former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama. As a public defender and civil rights lawyer, Dr. Ogletree has notably represented survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921 and acted as legal counsel to Professor Anita Hill during Clarence Thomas’ Senate confirmation hearings. Dr. Ogltree has received countless prestigious awards throughout his career, including being named one of America’s 100 Most Influential Lawyers by the National Law Journal. Harvard Law School and UC Merced have created endowed positions named in his honor.

On behalf of her husband and family, Pamela Ogletree said, “We can’t think of a more appropriate way to honor Charles’ extraordinary career and contributions to the legal profession and civil rights than with this incredible distinction. The impact of Charles’ humble beginnings at Merced on his life and career cannot be overstated. His deep gratitude to the community that nurtured him, more than anything else, moved him to pursue a life of service. His deep belief is that his accomplishments would not have been possible without the love, support and mentorship he received growing up in Merced, California.

“Professor Ogletree is highly revered not only by the African-American community in Merced, but by the entire Merced community,” said Allen Brooks, president of the Merced County NAACP. “Early in life, he demonstrated perseverance, tenacity, a strong desire to learn, to educate others, to demonstrate leadership and an insatiable commitment to excellence. It all started here in Merced with Merced High School as his launch pad when he became the high school’s first black president.While he was leaving Merced, we know he kept Merced in his heart and mind, offering scholarships to studies to young people and making themselves available when help was needed.

Unlike most of California’s 58 county courthouses, the one in Merced is unnamed. The courthouse is an award-winning 3-story modern building completed in 2007 at a cost of $19.7 million at 2260 N Street. The state’s courthouse naming policy generally limits the naming of courthouses to their physical location or in honor of a deceased person, prompting Assemblyman Gray to submit a draft legislation to create this exemption.

“Dr. Ogletree has spent his entire career challenging unfair rules and policies,” Assemblyman Gray said.


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