Law Student Wins Top Scholarship Award Honoring Virginia Civil Rights Champions

Lexington, VA Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Kathy Pritts '11L
Kathy Pritts '11L, a first year law student at Washington and Lee School of Law, has received the top scholarship from the Greater Richmond Bar Association and the Oliver W. Hill and Samuel W. Tucker Scholarship Committee

Now in its ninth year of existence, the $2500 scholarship award goes to an outstanding first year law student enrolled at a Virginia law school or Howard University School of Law. Recipients are chosen based on academic achievement and a commitment to civil rights.

Pritts, who hails from Oakland, MD, has been active as both an undergraduate and law student with organizations that promote campus diversity. At Cedarville University in Ohio, where she majored in International Studies, she participated on student government committees aimed at promoting multiculturalism on campus and raising awareness of the needs of minority student populations. At W&L, she is a member of the Black Law Students Association and will serve as the organization's treasurer during the next academic year.

"Oliver W. Hill and Samuel W. Tucker devoted their lives to achieving racial equality in Virginia and throughout America," said Pritts. "I am honored to receive this award and hope to live up to the ideals and values it represents."

Pritts will spend this summer working for Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE), a legal aid provider based in Dayton, OH. She will perform outreach within Hispanic migrant worker populations, helping resolve legal issues involving immigration, fair wages, and housing.

The scholarship honors two of the giants of the civil rights era in Virginia and the nation. Oliver Hill, who died at the age of 100 in August 2007, was a life-long civil rights activist and attorney. He was one of five lawyers who argued the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional. In the 1960's, Hill and Samuel Tucker formed a law firm along with current Virginia state senator Henry Marsh. Tucker was the lead attorney in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Green v. New Kent County School Board in 1968, which ended token integration practices.

Washington and Lee recently opened a law center in Hill's childhood home in Roanoke. The center's goal is to enhance access to justice efforts in Roanoke. Ongoing projects include serving older area residents with elder law issues, assisting ex-offenders with restoration of civil rights, with participating with the Roanoke Bar Association Rule of Law Project in area schools.

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