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.
(7.34 linear feet)
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Collection is open for research use.