The Nathaniel S. and Jerlean J. Colley papers document the legal and civic activities of Nathaniel Colley, one of Sacramento's
earliest African American attorneys and a national civil rights leader. For nearly 50 years, Nathaniel and Jerlean made Sacramento
their home, working to affect social change at the local, state, and national levels. The numerous speeches, statements, editorials,
and publications for which Nathaniel Colley was renowned make up a large percentage of the collection, and provide the framework
and foundation for each series.
Nathaniel Sextus Colley was born on November 21, 1918 in Carlowsville, Alabama. The youngest of six boys, he grew up in Snow
Hill, Alabama. Colley graduated with high honors from Snow Hill Institute before attending Tuskegee Institute. He studied
chemistry under George Washington Carver, graduating in 1941 with a B.S. degree and high honors. During World War II, Colley
served overseas as Captain of a chemical company where he developed a protective suit that could resist poison gas. In 1946,
he enrolled at Yale University Law School, winning the C. LaRue Munsun Prize for the most significant contribution of any
Yale student to the New Haven, Connecticut Legal Aid Society. He also shared the Benjamin Sharp Prize for best original essay
of any Yale student.
5 boxes (7.34 linear feet) of archival material, 188 still images, and 9 artifacts
All requests to publish or quote from private manuscripts held by the Center for Sacramento History (CSH) must be submitted
in writing to the archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of CSH as the owner of the physical items and
is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the patron. No permission
is necessary to publish or quote from public records.
Collection is open for research use.