A sense of justice [Arlinda Locklear].

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Hunt, Stephanie. "A sense of justice [Arlinda Locklear]." College of Charleston Magazine Summer 2006: 31-33.


Detailed, interestingly written overview of the background and career of attorney Arlinda Locklear, Lumbee, who has worked pro bono since 1987 on the tribe's efforts to obtain true federal acknowledgment.

Locklear was born at Fort Bragg but grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. Nevertheless, she spent many holidays and summer vacations with family in Robeson County, seeing first-hand the effects of segregation, discrimination, and inadequate funding for Indian-only schools. Locklear graduated from College of Charleston in 1973 with a political science degree, then obtained a J.D. from Duke University School of Law in 1976. The article provides reminiscences by Locklear of professors who influenced her as well as reminiscences of her by some of her professors. In 1990, she was given an honorary doctorate by the State University of New York.

Locklear began her professional career with eleven years of service to the Native American Rights Fund, including directing the Washington, D.C. office. She represented many different tribes in both state and federal courts. She became, in 1983, the first Native American woman to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court. When her husband (also an attorney specializing in Native American rights) died in 1988, her children were young; so she began working for Patton Boggs, LLC in Washington, D.C. Later, she went into private practice from her home office in Washington, D.C.

The article discusses other accomplishments as well. They include her winning a national moot court competition while in law school, defeating Boston College student John Kerry; service on the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union; an Outstanding Woman of Color award in 1987 from the National Institute for Women of Color; and (through 2007) membership on the board of trustees of UNC-Pembroke.

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Photographs by John Harrington.
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