African-American Lawyers in Durham

African-American Lawyers in Durham

Front row, left to right: William A. “Billy” Marsh, Jr., William Gaston Pearson II, unidentified, Asa Spaulding, Walter Ricks. Back row, left to right: Ed Avant, Floyd Brown, Wade Perry, Caswell Jerry Gates, C. C. “Buddy” Malone, M. Hugh Thompson, unidentified, Howard Clement, LeMarquis DeJarmon.

This group of African-American lawyers includes some of Durham’s most prominent civil rights lawyers, judges, businessmen, and academics. William Marsh and Hugh Thompson were central to proceedings that led to the integration of Durham’s public school system. William Gaston Pearson, II, was the first African American to be elected a district court judge in North Carolina. Asa Spaulding was president of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company and played a significant, behind-the scenes role in the Civil Rights Movement on both the local and national stage. C.C. “Buddy” Malone represented civil rights demonstrators across the state. Community organizer and city councilman Howard Clement led the most successful boycott of businesses ever held in Durham. LeMarquis DeJarmon was dean of the North Carolina Central University School of Law and he and William Pearson and Buddy Malone were members of Durham’s first African-American law firm, Pearson, Malone, Johnson, & DeJarmon.