John Ebson Thorne (January 20, 1921-May
10, 2002) was a San Jose-based attorney and activist who specialized in civil rights and
constitutional law. Over the course of his career, Thorne extended his legal services to
organizations including the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), the American Indian
Movement (AIM), and anti-Vietnam War activists. He also represented Black Panther Party
member and activist George Jackson, and intellectual Angela Davis. Thorne was also a
prominent figure in Santa Clara County and California state Democratic Party politics. The
collection primarily consists of Thorne's correspondence, legal documents, client and
witness interviews, case research materials, and publications related to his professional
and activist work.
John Ebson Thorne (January 20, 1921-May 10, 2002) was a San Jose, California-based attorney
and activist born in Richmond, Indiana. Throughout his legal career, Thorne specialized in
civil rights issues and constitutional law. He collaborated with African Americans and
Native Americans in their struggles for racial and political justice, pursued legal action
against the United States (U.S.) government as a means of demonstrating the illegality of
the Vietnam War, and was a prominent figure in Santa Clara County and California state
Democratic Party politics.
54.4 Linear Feet
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This collection is open for research. Access to certain material is restricted due to
attorney-client privilege. Within this guide, restricted material is marked with an Access
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