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Wed, 12.31.1952

Charles Ogletree, Lawyer and Author born.

Charles Ogletree

*Charles Ogletree was born on this date in 1952. He was a Black legal scholar and author of books on legal topics.

Charles James Ogletree Jr. was born in Merced, California, to parents who were farm workers. He earned his B.A. (1974, and MA (1975) in political science from Stanford University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1978. While in law school, he became President of the Black American Law Students Association (later known as the National Black Law Students Association).

After graduating from law school, Ogletree worked for the District of Columbia Public Defender Service until 1985, first as a staff attorney, then as training director, trial chief, and deputy director. As an attorney, he represented such notable figures as Tupac Shakur and Anita Hill. In 1985, he became a professor at Harvard Law School and vice dean for clinical programs.

Ogletree taught both Barack and Michelle Obama at Harvard. He moderated several television programs for commercial, cable, and public broadcasting service broadcasts. Ogletree was a member of the board of trustees at Stanford University. He founded the Merced, California scholarships and was the chairman of the board of trustees of the University of the District of Columbia. He was a past national president of the Black Law Students Association. In 2009, Ogletree wrote a book about the events titled The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Race, Class and Crime in America.

Ogletree mentored Michelle Roberts, founded the Benjamin Banneker Charter Public School, and served on the school's foundation board. The school library is named in his honor. In 2004, Harvard disciplined Ogletree for the plagiarism of six paragraphs from Yale scholar Jack Balkin's book, What Brown v. Board of Education Should Have Said, in his own book, All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education. Ogletree apologized.

Ogletree wrote opinion pieces on race in the United States for many major publications. As a writer, Ogletree contributed to periodicals such as New CrisisPublic Utilities Fortnightly, and Harvard Law Review. In 2011, he gave a three-part lecture at Harvard Law School entitled "Understanding Obama." Ogletree appeared in the 2013 documentary Justice is a Black Woman: The Life and Works of Constance Baker Motley and in the 2014 documentary Hate Crimes in the Heartland.

On July 13, 2016, Ogletree announced he had been diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer's. In 2019, Ogletree went missing and was found safe by the police after an extensive missing person search. Charles Ogletree died on August 4, 2023, at 70.

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