- Post 22 December 2011
- By Associated Press
- Hits: 954
Attorney Ronald Sherman Samuels was born June 17, 1941 in Chicago to Peter Isaac and Lena Samuels. He was one of seven children raised in Morgan Park. He received Christ at an early age at Beth Eden Baptist Church, where his father was a deacon.
He attended Esmond Elementary School and Morgan Park High School.
Samuels married former beauty queen and Chicago Public Schools teacher and librarian Melva Jean Bryant.
Samuels, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, was a graduate of Chicago Teachers College, now Chicago State University and John Marshall Law School.
He provided legal counsel for Operation PUSH, the NAACP, the Morgan Park Local School Council, the Progressive and National Baptist Conventions, Church of God in Christ and the United Methodist Church. He was also the chief trial attorney for Dr. Martin Luther King’s Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities. He was a key member of the election committees for Mayor Harold Washington, Cook County Commissioner Bobbie Steele and Appellate Court Justice William Cousins. His work for the Leadership Council led to the landmark case - Holmgren vs. The West Side Times - that remedied certain housing discrimination issues in Chicago associated with “redlining” - a practice that denied mortgages to minorities.
Samuels played the leading role in the Seaton v. Sky Realty case, which recognized racial discrimination as a tort. He became the first African-American supervisor in the Cook County States’ Attorney’s Office, where he also was chief of the Consumer Fraud Division under Bernard Carey. In 1982, along with the Cook County Bar Association, he organized hearings on the conduct of the Chicago Police Department in what later became infamously known as the Jon Burge Case. He also represented the music group The Spinners.
He served as president of the CCBA; vice president of the National Bar Association; member of the American Bar Association; Illinois State Bar Association; Chicago Bar Association; and American Trial Lawyers Association.
Samuels leaves a family of hundreds to celebrate his memory, including: his wife, four children, two granddaughters, along with a host of friends.