Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SR1839
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Full Text of SR1839  100th General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois Senate are saddened to
3learn of the death of Lewis Myers Jr., who passed away on May
424, 2018; and
5    WHEREAS, Lewis Myers was born in Houston, Texas and
6graduated with honors from Phillis Wheatley High School in
71965, where he was recognized in Who's Who Among Students in
8American High Schools; he was elected NAACP Youth Council
9President for the Houston branch and led student demonstrations
10that helped integrate the Houston Independent School District;
12    WHEREAS, Lewis Myers studied at Tennessee State
13University, where he joined the Student Non-Violent
14Coordinating Committee (S.N.C.C.) Chapter; he also became
15chairman of the Students Rights Organization Chapter at
16Tennessee State; he transferred to Howard University, and in
171968, was elected president of the Undergraduate Student
18Council; he was recognized in Who's Who Among Students in
19American Colleges and Universities in 1969; and
20    WHEREAS, Lewis Myers entered law school at Rutgers
21University; he later transferred to the University of
22Mississippi, which allowed him to work in rural Mississippi and



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1expand his civil rights work; he earned his law degree from the
2University of Mississippi in 1972; he was a student assistant
3to famed constitutional and civil rights lawyer Herbert Reid
4who was the former Dean of the Law School at Howard University,
5as well as Chief Counsel to legendary Congressman Adam Clayton
6Powell Jr. from New York; and
7    WHEREAS, In 1971, Lewis Myers worked with what was then
8called the Goldberg Commission in New York City; he served as
9an assistant on the staff and visited many of the cities where
10the Black Panther Party had been involved in confrontations
11with the local police departments; and
12    WHEREAS, Lewis Myers accepted a Reginald Heber Smith
13Fellowship, which enabled him to work with a civil rights legal
14services program across the United States; he was selected to
15work in Mississippi, where he started working as a staff
16attorney with North Mississippi Rural Legal Services in Oxford;
17initially, he handled school desegregation cases; however,
18within a year of his graduation from law school, he filed suit
19on behalf of African American law students at the University in
20the case of Robinson vs. University of Mississippi; the lawsuit
21challenged the University's historic policies of racial
22discrimination and exclusion of African Americans from
23admission to its law school and subsequently opened up the
24admissions process which has allowed many African American



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1students to complete their education since that time; and
2    WHEREAS, Lewis Myers became Director of Litigation in
3charge of more than 45 lawyers and 40 paralegals; he was
4responsible for managing seven legal service offices
5throughout cities in Northern Mississippi and the Mississippi
6Delta; he initiated numerous lawsuits challenging racial
7discrimination in municipal governments and in private
8employment practices in the State of Mississippi; in 1973, he
9was one of the lawyers that filed the historic case of Ayers
10vs. Mississippi which ultimately led to the desegregation of
11institutions of higher learning in the United States after
12reaching the United States Supreme Court; between 1974 and
131976, he was on the cutting edge of filing more than six
14lawsuits against county jails in the State of Mississippi for
15inhumane conditions and the treatment of their inmates; and
16    WHEREAS, Lewis Myers was involved in numerous historic
17cases, including the case of New Jersey vs. Joanne Chesmard
18a/k/a Assata Shakur-mother of Tupac Shakur, the United States
19vs. Rene Leon, and the Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt case; he served
20as counsel for seven young boys who were expelled from the
21Decatur public schools after a fight at a football game; and
22    WHEREAS, Lewis Myers served as general counsel for several
23national civil rights leaders, including Minister Louis



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1Farrakhan, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, and Rev. Al Sharpton; he
2served as chief operating officer and the national deputy
3director of the NAACP in Baltimore; in August of 1993, he
4served as national deputy coordinator of the historic 30th
5anniversary for the March on Washington; and
6    WHEREAS, Lewis Myers was one of the top litigation lawyers
7in the Chicago area; he taught Evidence and Trial Advocacy as
8an adjunct professor at DePaul University's School of Law in
9Chicago; he taught at several Chicago City Colleges and served
10as director of the Criminal Justice Program at Kennedy King
11College; he was also a professor teaching Criminal Justice at
12Chicago State University; and
13    WHEREAS, Lewis Myers was a member of the Illinois Bar, the
14Bar of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Bar of the
15Federal Appellate Court for the Third Circuit, the Bar for the
16Federal Appellate Court for the Fifth Circuit, the Bar of the
17United States Federal District Court for the Northern District
18of California, and the Bar for the Federal Court of Claims; he
19was a member of the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the
20National Lawyers' Guild (Executive Board, Chicago Chapter),
21the National Bar Association, the National Association of
22Criminal Defense Attorneys, and the National Conference of
23Black Lawyers (Chairperson, Chicago Chapter); he held
24memberships with several professional organizations, including



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1Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the NAACP (Life Member), 500 Black
2Men (Founder of Chicago Chapter), Black Men's Forum, and the
3American Historical Association; he was the recipient of many
4accolades and awards; he was listed in several Who's Who
5publications and was recognized as one of the most influential
6African Americans in the United States in various national
7publications; and
8    WHEREAS, Lewis Myers is survived by his wife, Celestine
9Narcisse-Myers, and his son, Lewis Myers III; therefore, be it
11ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we mourn the passing of
12Lewis Myers Jr., and extend our sincere condolences to his
13family, friends, and all who knew and loved him; and be it
15    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
16presented to the family of Lewis Myers as an expression of our
17deepest sympathy.