In celebration of Black History Month, Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, all D-Delaware, along with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, introduced on Feb. 28 a resolution to honor Louis Lorenzo Redding, the first African-American attorney to pass the Delaware Bar in 1929.
“For 55 years, Louis L. Redding fought for the civil rights of all Delawareans,” said Coons. “As the first African American admitted to the Delaware Bar, Redding played an integral role in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education, and many others. I am honored to introduce this resolution to recognize the life and work of a great attorney and even better man whose dedication to equality and justice made Delaware a better state and America a better nation.”
“Louis L. Redding dedicated his life to ending discrimination and promoting equality and justice for all Americans.” said Carper. “This resolution shines a light on Mr. Redding’s incredible life, and reminds us that his significant contributions to our state and our nation must never be forgotten. I am pleased to join Senator Coons and Congresswoman Blunt Rochester to introduce this resolution honoring Mr. Redding and the positive impact his work continues to have in Delaware and across the nation.”
“The oft-used phrase of ‘trailblazer’ is simply insufficient to describe Louis L. Redding,” said Blunt Rochester. “For over a quarter-century, Mr. Redding was the only non-white lawyer in the state of Delaware. His work to desegregate schools at home and around the country made possible a better and brighter education for a new generation of American children. I’m pleased to join with my Delaware colleagues to share with the nation the Redding legacy we know so well in the First State.”
“I wish to express sincere gratitude for this resolution honoring the legacy of Louis Lorenzo Redding,” said JB Redding on behalf of the family of Louis L. Redding. “Like the First State — Delaware — my father was distinctive and first. As the first African American Attorney in Delaware, he used stalwart determination and rigorous intellect to hew out a wide, ascending, just and inclusive stairway. We in the Redding line are among a multitude of beneficiaries climbing because of the work of ‘Lawyer Redding.’ Yet the family witnessed his most arduous labor after the victories in the highest courts of the land. My father understood that the legal triumphs would be hollow, unless they were followed by full implementation. We are hopeful that the history shared in this resolution will inspire the next generation of standard bearers for equal justice. Again, thank you Senator Coons for the honor of this resolution and for your consistent, insistent voice calling for liberty and justice for all.”
As detailed in the resolution, Louis L. Redding made many notable contributions to society during his career. In 1950, Redding served as the lead attorney in Parker v. University of Delaware, the case that desegregated the University of Delaware. He argued two U.S. Supreme Court cases that that were related to equal opportunities for African Americans: one of the five cases that was consolidated into the U.S. Supreme Court case of Brown v. Board of Education and the case of Burton v. Wilmington Parking Authority, which forbid a private entity from discriminating on the basis of race if the State approved, encouraged, or facilitated the relevant private conduct. Throughout his lifetime, Redding broke down barriers and paved the way for African-American lawyers both locally and nationally.
Text of the resolution is available at bit.ly/38ccBHk.