I have just learned that Judge Horace Ward has died. He was a true Civil Rights Legend. There will never be another Horace Ward. We owe him a debt of gratitude for all he endured and accomplished. He truly left the world a better place. In his memory, I am reprinting below my letter to the Editors of the Daily Report and the Atlanta Daily World written on the occasion of his retirement in 2012. God bless Judge Ward.
Letter to the Editor – September 12, 2012
Atlanta Daily World
Congratulations and thanks to Judge Horace Ward
To the Editor:
On behalf of the State Bar of Georgia, I am writing to congratulate U.S. District Court Senior Judge Horace Ward on the announcement of his retirement at the end of this year and thank him for his more than 50 years of service to the public and the justice system.
In 1979, Judge Ward became the first African American federal judge in Georgia, having been nominated by President Jimmy Carter. He had previously served in the Georgia State Senate and as a State Court and Superior Court judge in Fulton County. Since 1993, Judge Ward has served the Northern District of Georgia in senior status.He is also well known in Georgia history from his efforts to gain admission to the then-segregated University of Georgia Law School in the 1950s. For years, the Board of Regents denied Judge Ward admission to the law school, stating that the fact that no black had ever been admitted to the university was merely coincidental. Meanwhile, the Board of Regents decided to “modify” the admissions criteria by requiring that candidates take an entrance exam and that they get two additional letters of recommendation—one from a UGA law school alumnus and the other from the superior court judge in the area where the applicant resided. Judge Ward filed suit against the Board of Regents to gain admission, which, after years of delay, was eventually dismissed on the basis that Judge Ward had “refused” to reapply under the new admissions guidelines (which Ward’s attorneys had argued was yet another ploy to keep Ward out). Judge Ward decided not to appeal and attended law school at Northwestern University, from which he graduated in 1959. In what can only be described as poetic justice, Judge Ward was a member of the legal team representing Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes when they were admitted as the first African American students at UGA, thus ending 175 years of segregation at the university
We owe Judge Ward a debt of gratitude. All Georgia lawyers and judges can be inspired by Judge Ward’s lifetime of service and career-long efforts to promote the cause of justice, uphold the rule of law and protect the rights of all citizens. We wish him good health and an enjoyable retirement with his family in the years ahead.
Robin Frazer Clark
Robin Frazer Clark pursues justice for those who have personal injury claims as a result of being injured in motor vehicle wrecks, trucking wrecks, defective products, defective maintenance of roads, premises safety, medical malpractice and other incidents caused by the negligence of others. Ms. Clark is the 50th President of the State Bar of Georgia and a Past President of Georgia Trial Lawyers Association and has practiced law in Georgia for 28 years. Mrs. Clark is listed as one of the Top 50 Women Trial Lawyers in Georgia and is a Georgia Super Lawyer. Robin Frazer Clark~Dedicated to the Constitution’s Promise of Justice for All.