By Stephanie Gadlin, Chicago Crusader
The national civil rights community is mourning the loss of famed Attorney Lewis Myers, Jr., who died Thursday, May 24, 2018, in a Chicago rehab facility after complications from surgery.
There will be a Memorial Service for Attorney Lewis Myers in Chicago on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at Christ Universal Temple, 11901 South Ashland at 1:30 p.m. Doors to the church for seating will open at 1:00 p.m. Parking is available.
Myers, who began his career in the late 1960s as a student activist, has been legal counsel to America’s most prominent Black leaders, revolutionaries and organizations, including Min. Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jr., Assata Shakur, Noah Robinson, Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt, the Wilmington 10, Rainbow/- PUSH Coalition, National Action Network, NAACP, SNCC, SCLC and countless others.
Myers was licensed to practice law in Mississippi in 1972. From that time until April, 1976, Myers was director of litigation at North Mississippi Rural Legal Services in Oxford, MS. Later, the outspoken attorney was elevated to the position of Director of Litigation in charge of more than 45 lawyers and 40 paralegals. In this capacity, he was responsible for managing seven legal service offices throughout cities in Northern Mississippi and the Mississippi Delta, which included Clarksville, Batesville, Holly Springs, Tupelo, Cleveland, and Greenville. While Director of Litigation, he initiated numerous lawsuits challenging racial discrimination in municipal governments and in private employment practices in the State of Mississippi.
In 1973, Myers was one of the lawyers that filed the historic case of Ayers vs. Mississippi, that ultimately led to the desegregation of institutions of higher learning in the United States after reaching the United States Supreme Court. Between 1974 and 1976, he was on the cutting edge of filing more than six landmark lawsuits against county jails in the State of Mississippi for inhumane conditions and the treatment of their inmates that set precedents in the area of jail reform litigation across the country.
Myers left Mississippi in April 1976, and later moved to Chicago where he was admitted to that State’s bar by reciprocity supported by the original license to practice law granted by the state of Mississippi. Myers is affiliated with several organizations and is an adjunct professor of law with DePaul University School of Law in Chicago. He also taught at Chicago State University.
Born in Houston, Texas, Myers attended the public school system and graduated from Phillis Wheatley High School. He was recognized in “Who’s Who Among Students in American High Schools.” At the early age of fifteen, Myers affirmed his commitment again as a leader when he launched his lifelong career endeavor as a community activist after being elected NAACP Youth Council President for the A. A. Lucas Branch of the NAACP in Houston. He further emphasized his civil rights leadership as a youth while in high school when he led student demonstrations that helped to integrate the Houston Independent School District. He was one of several youth leaders to initiate an historic boycott that spotlighted the segregated apartheid policies of the Houston Independent School District, thus clearly demonstrating that both his high school and the school district needed to be integrated in order to provide equal and quality education.
Myers has tried hundreds of cases in jurisdictions all across the United States. He was a member of the Illinois Bar, the Bar of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Bar of the Federal Appellate Court for the Third Circuit, the Bar for the Federal Appellate Court for the Fifth Circuit, the Bar of the United States Federal District Court for the Northern District of California, and the Bar for the Federal Court of Claims. Complementing these professional memberships are other legal associations such as the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the National Lawyers’ Guild (Executive Board, Chicago Chapter), the National Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, and the National Conference of Black Lawyers (Chairperson, Chicago Chapter).
Myers, known for his charisma, charm and blunt humor, held memberships in a number of professional and non-legal organizations, including Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, 500 Black Men (Founder of Chicago Chapter), and the Black Men’s Forum.
Myers was married to his wife, Tina, and the father of a son, Lewis Myers III.