Friday, November 28, 2008

Ralph Bunche

Ralph Bunche was an American diplomat and a distinguished professor at Howard University. He also happened to be a very light-skinned black man. Once, at a party in the early 60s, the subject of Civil Rights came up, and an elderly white woman (who did not realize that Ralph Bunche was black), said to him '*Well*, would you want your daughter to marry a Negro?'

He considered that question for a moment, and then said, 'Well, not just *any* Negro.'

That's pretty much my read on the current Presidential Contest. How do I feel about America having a black President? Fine, just not *any* black President. I recognize that America electing a black President would certainly have a major on America's image throughout the world- whether Senator Barack Obama is the best person for the job- time will tell. (If he doesn't win, it will be the biggest political upset of the century.)

When I was at Notre Dame Law School, one of my classmates as a fine black fellow named Richard Blackmon. He grew up in the Chicago projects and had attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale on a football scholarship. He was smart enough to figure out he wasn't going to play in the NFL- so he got into Notre Dame Law School- and though he struggled- he got some Cs and Ds- he made it through. When he graduated, I told him, 'Rich Blackmon, I'm very happy for you. Now that Rich Blackmon has graduated from Notre Dame Law School, Rich Blackmon is going to get to become a rich black man.' Rich was quite amused.

A few years later, I heard that Rich had gotten married (a friend of mine had attended the wedding), so I called him up, and 'Rich, I hear you got married.'

He said, 'Yeah, man- it's great!'

And I said, 'Rich, I know exactly what you should name your first born'

'What's that?'

I said, 'If you have a kid, name'em 'Highly Qualified'.' Rich was very amused. I mean, can you image the career prospects of a guy named 'Highly Qualified Blackmon'?

There's a sad postscript of my story about Rich Blackmon. In Legal Ethics class, if there is *one* thing that you are going to remember *decades* later, it is to not comingle your client's funds with you own. That makes clients funds vulnerable to a judgment against you. Rich comingled a client's funds with his own, and got a five year suspension from the Illinois Supreme Court.

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