Judge Leonard L. Williams
May 23, 2013
Judge Leonard L. Williams was born on December 11, 1934 in Wilmington, Delaware where he graduated from Howard High School in 1952. In 1950, the famous Delaware attorney Louis L. Redding, Esq. won his case to desegregate schools. Before this case, Howard was the only public high school for African-American students in the state of Delaware. After graduating from Howard, Judge Williams attended The University of Delaware which had just begun to allow African-American students to attend. Judge Williams originally planned to become a civil engineer but he switched to pre-law his sophomore year and made the Dean's List.
After graduating from The University of Delware, he attended Georgetown Law School in Washington, DC. In 1959, he graduated and returned to Wilmington to work for his hero Louis L. Redding, Esq. Mr. Redding was the first African-American attorney to be a member of the Delaware Bar. Following his footsteps, Judge Williams became the fifth African-American member of the Delaware Bar.
In 1966, Judge Williams was appointed as an Associate Judge of the Municipal Court and continued to work in the field of civil rights for many years. He was involved in many civil rights cases in Delaware, including cases involving the desegregation of schools, housing, employment, and public accommodations. As the former Chairman of the Board of the Redding House Foundation, he was also responsible for developing a museum at the former home of Louis L. Redding, Esq. in Wilmington, Delaware.
On March 2, 2013, Judge Williams passed away at the age of 78. He was the father of three children and married to Andrea Holmes Williams. Judge Williams was a trailblazer during the civil rights movement and he continued to speak up against racial and socio-economic injustices during his career and after he retired from the bench. His commitment to youth, particularly to the youth of Wilmington, and his fight for equal rights made him greatly admired by all generations.
In spring 2013, Judge Williams served as a civil rights "Legend" to students at Eastside Charter School in Wilmington as part of Street Law's Closing the Gap initiative.
Want to get involved? Volunteers needed in fall 2013 for Street Law's Closing the Gap initiative.
(Reproduced with permission)