Charles J. Ogletree Jr., legislation professor and civil rights scholar, useless at 70

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Charles J. Ogletree Jr., a legislation professor and civil rights scholar with a distinguished profession at Harvard Regulation Faculty and whose shoppers included Anita Hill and Tupac Shakur, died Friday after a prolonged battle with Alzheimer’s illness. He was 70.

A California native who typically spoke of his humble roots, Ogletree labored within the farm fields of the Central Valley earlier than establishing himself as a authorized scholar at one of many nation’s most outstanding legislation colleges, the place he taught Barack and Michelle Obama.

Harvard Regulation Faculty Dean John F. Manning shared information of Ogletree’s loss of life in a message to the campus neighborhood Friday.

“Charles was a tireless advocate for civil rights, equality, human dignity, and social justice,” Manning mentioned within the message that the legislation college emailed to the Related Press. “He modified the world in so some ways, and he shall be sorely missed in a world that very a lot wants him.”

Ogletree represented Hill when she accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in the course of the future U.S. Supreme Courtroom justice’s Senate affirmation hearings in 1991.

He defended the late rapper Tupac Shakur in prison and civil instances. He additionally fought unsuccessfully for reparations for members of the Tulsa, Okla., Black neighborhood who survived a 1921 white supremacist bloodbath.

Ogletree was surrounded by his household when he died peacefully at his house in Odenton, Md., his household mentioned in a press release.

Ogletree went public with the information that he’d been recognized with Alzheimer’s in 2016. He retired from Harvard Regulation Faculty in 2020. The Merced County courthouse in California’s agricultural heartland was named after him in February in recognition of his contributions to legislation, schooling and civil rights.

Ogletree didn’t attend the ceremony unveiling his identify on the courthouse. His brother instructed the group gathered within the San Joaquin Valley city that his brother was his hero and that he would have anticipated him to say what he’d mentioned many instances earlier than: “I stand on the shoulders of others.”

“He at all times needs to provide credit score to others and never settle for credit score himself, which he so richly deserves,” Richard Ogletree instructed the gathering.

Charles J. Ogletree Jr. grew up in poverty on the south aspect of the railroad tracks in Merced in an space of Black and brown households. His mother and father have been seasonal farm laborers, and he picked peaches, almonds and cotton in the summertime. He went to varsity at Stanford College earlier than Harvard.

Manning mentioned in his message Friday that Ogletree had a “monumental affect” on Harvard Regulation Faculty.

“His extraordinary contributions stretch from his work as a working towards lawyer advancing civil rights, prison protection, and equal justice to the change he delivered to Harvard Regulation Faculty as an impactful establishment builder to his beneficiant work as trainer and mentor who confirmed our college students how legislation will be an instrument for change,” he mentioned.

Ogletree is survived by his spouse, Pamela Barnes, to whom he was married for 47 years; his two kids, Charles J. Ogletree III and Rashida Ogletree-George; and 4 grandchildren.

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