Oliver Hill, Civil Rights Crusader, Dies

Virginia lawyer played key role in Brown v. Board of Education
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2007 3:37 AM CDT
An undated 1954 file photo shows the lawyers for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. From left, Louis L. Redding, Robert L. Carter, Oliver W. Hill, Thurgood Marshall and Spottswood W. Robinson...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Oliver Hill, a Virginia civil rights crusader whose work contributed to the Brown v. Board of Education decision against school segregation, died yesterday at 100. Described as "last lion of the civil-rights movement," Hill was a survivor of D-Day's Omaha Beach landing, and close friends with Justice Thurgood Marshall, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

In 1999, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor. "I never had a class with white folks," Hill said. "And I never believed Negro children had to go to school with white children in order to learn. But I fought for school integration because I believed that for the Negro to enjoy the full advantages of our culture, he needed to be associated with the people who run that culture."