Farewell, John Payton (1946-2012)

A graduate of Harvard Law School, John Payton was a renowned leader and thinker in the field of civil rights law. During his tenure as head of the NAACP LDF, the organization won several key civil rights victories in the courtroom, including Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District v. Holder, which protected the constitutionality of Sec. 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  

"John Payton was one of the greatest civil rights lawyers our nation has ever had and our world has ever known," stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. "From defending affirmative action to fighting mass incarceration to protecting voting rights, John defended civil rights gains and won civil rights victories. He was a dear friend, a valued counselor, and a leader of leaders. The entire NAACP family is deeply saddened by his sudden passing.  We will miss him. We will honor his memory by fighting for justice as he did – with passion, precision, and perseverance in the face of great odds."

"John Payton was a humble hero in the fight for civil rights," stated Roslyn Brock, Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors. "He possessed a keen legal mind and a passion for the justice. He will be remembered with the highest possible esteem for his steady leadership at the helm of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education fund and for his tireless work in the fields of voting rights and employment discrimination. He will truly be missed by all. 

Read more about John Payton here