Russell Lovell, Drake University Law School associate dean and professor of law, will give a talk on Drake alumnus Charles P. Howard, a renowned civil rights attorney and co-founder of the National Bar Association, at the African American Museum of Iowa.
Lovell will present “Charles Howard Sr.: Outstanding Trial Lawyer, Radical Journalist, Outspoken Civil and Human Rights Activist, International Visionary” at the museum in Cedar Rapids from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16. The event is free and open to the public.
“There is tremendous satisfaction in seeing the law work as an engine for justice and social change,” said Lovell, an expert in civil rights litigation.
Howard, who graduated from Drake Law School in 1922, helped to found the National Bar Association in 1925 in partial protest to the American Bar Association’s refusal to admit black lawyers. Although the ABA later admitted African Americans, Howard saw a continuing need for an organization to represent the interests of minority attorneys.
Drake Law School houses the NBA archives, which contain information about Howard, fellow association founders and prominent members, as well as annual conference materials dating back to 1978. The archives are open to the public in Opperman Law Library during regular hours.
Howard, a member of the Iowa Bar Association, went on to earn distinction in the 1940s as a trial lawyer and champion of civil rights in Iowa. He served as lead attorney for Edna Griffin and other African Americans in discrimination suits against Katz Drug Store in Des Moines, whose settlement in 1949 effectively ended overt discrimination against African Americans in Iowa’s public accommodations.
In addition, Howard served as a correspondent for African American press at the United Nations for fifteen years, developing an international vision that linked domestic civil rights to basic human rights.
At Drake, Lovell directs the Law School’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution Certificate Program, the path-breaking First-Year Trial Practicum and Public Service Scholarship Program, while teaching courses in constitutional and employment discrimination litigation, civil rights and remedies.
His public service commitment includes 30 years of civil rights work for the NAACP, through which he served as lead counsel in the class action cases that desegregated the Indiana State Police Department and the Des Moines Fire Department. Lovell also led the court-awarded attorneys’ fees portion of the Kansas City school desegregation litigation, which was won in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Lovell, a member of the Drake faculty since 1976, was awarded the Footsoldier in the Sand Award at the 2005 NAACP National Convention and an NAACP Trailblazer Award in 2003. He also has received several awards for outstanding community service from the Des Moines Branch of the NAACP, the Black Ministerial Alliance and was awarded the Madelyn Levitt Distinguished Community Service Award in 1998.
Lovell holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Nebraska Law College and a bachelor degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. He is licensed in Iowa, Indiana, Missouri and Nebraska, as well as numerous federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.