Foot soldier for justice

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 6, 2007

Foot soldier for justiceAlthough many Americans can identify Brown v. Board of Education as the landmark 1954 Supreme Couart ruling that struck down segregated public schools, fewer recognize the name of Oliver W. Hill. Yet Hill, who died Sunday at age 100 in Richmond, was for decades one of the country’s foremost civil rights defenders and played a central role in a Virginia case that was incorporated into the Brown ruling. While perhaps less heralded than his fellow attorney, Thurgood Marshall, who was the lead lawyer in Brown and later became a Supreme Court justice, Hill was just as pivotal a figure in the long battle for racial justice. He deserves to be remembered as a tireless and courageous advocate for equality, often at the risk of harm to himself and his family.