Lewis Myers Jr.
Lewis Myers Jr. (Courtesy photo)

Lewis Myers Jr., a famed civil rights attorney and former NAACP deputy director, has died.

Myers died Thursday night in a Chicago rehab facility after complications from surgery, the Chicago Crusader reported.

Myers, who tried hundreds of cases across the nation, 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.

“Lewis Myers was a true advocate for the people — whether as counsel with North Mississippi Rural Legal Services or as NAACP deputy director, he was a powerful force for progress,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO. “His work and legal representation of Rev. Jesse Jackson and so many others across the country served as a model for many. He was truly a progressive voice in the legal and civil rights community.”

Meyers was also a member of organizations 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, for which he served as chair of the Chicago chapter.

He served as assistant professor of criminal justice at Chicago State University and as a part of a special delegation with Jackson to discuss minority communications with government leaders in Africa. He met with then-president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, as part of the delegation and had previously met with Nelson Mandela during the NAACP Convention.

As a youth, he was elected NAACP Youth Council president for the A. A. Lucas branch of the NAACP in Houston. In high school, he was one of several youth leaders to initiate a historic boycott designed to bring attention to the segregated apartheid policies of the Houston Independent School District.

“Lewis Myers Jr. was committed to the work of civil and human rights,” said Leon W. Russell, chairman of the NAACP National Board. “The NAACP extends our sincere condolences to his family and sends prayers of comfort and strength for the days to come.”

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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