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Louis L. Redding, champion of equality

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Harvard-trained lawyer Louis L. Redding could have taken his skills to greener pastures, but instead he became Delaware’s first black lawyer in 1929 and for many decades served as the First State’s foremost advocate of civil rights. Redding, choosing to fight for civil rights in Delaware, pioneered the opening of the University of Delaware to black students in 1950. He was also a major player in the Delaware case of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decisions in 1954, which has had a profound impact on the American social order. With his vision of true democracy and equality of opportunity, Redding was the legal voice of Delaware’s NAACP. His decision to reside with his family in Cheyney, Pa., was a reflection of his character. He adamantly refused to raise his daughters in a segregated society and segregated schools. This episode in Redding’s life resonates a personal note; my wife, LaWanda, fondly recalls taking care of his daughters, Anne and Rupa. The statue of Louis L. Redding in from of the city-county building in Wilmington is a reminder that his courage and commitment changed life for all Delawareans. Redding’s legacy and impact here is far reaching. Though there is difficulty in measuring the full extent of his influence, it is almost impossible to think of Delaware’s social, cultural and education progress in the past 50 years without his presence. 

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