Civil Rights Champion And Career United States Attorney John Edwin Green Passes Into Omega Chapter (
Brother John E. Green was an icon in Oklahoma Civil Rights. He advocated for equality in word and deed while successfully balancing the needs of the community with those of his family. Green was the second African-American to graduate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and was admitted to the Oklahoma Bar Association in 1957. Mr. Green has a long list of firsts including: the first African-American to serve in the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor, the first African-American to serve in the office of U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma and the first African-American to serve on the Oklahoma Bar Association (OBA) Board of Governors.John E. Green has led an exemplary life, had an extraordinary career, and has provided great service to Oklahoma City.
He spent the early part of his career fighting against segregation in Oklahoma City and has remained dedicated to fighting for racial equality. Mr. Green was a leader in the fight to desegregate Oklahoma City Public Schools as the lead attorney in the Dowell v. School Board of Oklahoma City Public Schools case, which led to integrated classrooms and equality of education for all students in the district, regardless of race.John E. Green’s work also includes philanthropy.
In 1970, Green and a small group of concerned African-Americans formed the Southwestern Urban Foundation, to assist organizations and individuals facing financial hardship by providing grant funds. Millions in grants and other good works done by the organization have helped many in northeast Oklahoma City. Green participates in numerous other civil, social and charitable organizations.
The Oklahoma City University School of Law’s Chapter of the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) is now known as the John E. Green Black Law Student Association. The naming helped cement John E. Green’s legacy in Oklahoma City and to reflect the Black Law Student Association’s commitment to positively influence legal, social and political changes. John E. Green’s work and life exemplify these goals and it was with great consideration and careful deliberation that Green was chosen for this high honor.
March 2, 1929 - March 21, 2017 OKLAHOMA CITY John Edwin Green, Sr., 88, passed away March 21, 2017. John was born on March 2, 1929 in Wright City, OK, and is predeceased by his parents Idella and Mack C. Green, five siblings, and his wife Wanda Sharp Green. John graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1944 and ascended to Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, graduating in 1949 with a double major. John then served in the Korean Conflict and was awarded a Combat Infantryman Badge and Bronze Star. On the GI Bill, John entered University of Oklahoma College of Law and graduated in 1957 becoming the College's second Black law school graduate, but the first to earn his degree in three years. John entered private practice with the Bruce and Rowan Law Firm where he gained invaluable mentorship and knowledge that contributed to John filing and litigating the landmark school desegregation case Dowell vs. Oklahoma City Public School Board of Education. In 1963 he launched a career in the office of the United States Attorney, Western District of Oklahoma that spanned an impressive 34 years, serving as Assistant U.S. District Attorney, First Assistant U.S. Assistant Attorney, Federal Prosecutor and Acting United States Attorney between six presidential transitions. John participated widely in the legal community and was a member of the Federal Bar Association; American Bar Association; Oklahoma Bar Association Board of Governors; Oklahoma County Bar Association; Oklahoma City Association of Black Lawyers; and the University of Oklahoma College of Law Board of Visitors. He was also an adjunct faculty member of the Oklahoma City University School of Law. In 2013, the Oklahoma City University School of Law's Chapter of the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) honored Attorney Green and changed its name to the "John E. Green Black Law School Student Association." In "semi-retirement" John continued to serve the community in many ways, playing a major role in the creation of the Southwestern Urban Foundation, and as a member or board member of: the Eastside Family Branch, YMCA; NAACP; St. Anthony Hospital Foundation; Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation; Oklahoma County Finance Authority; Oklahoma City Community Foundation and Oklahoma County Community Action Program. Brother Green was a 33rd Degree Mason and Shriner, Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and Sigma Pi Phi Boule' member. He was a lifelong member of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and belonged to Greater Cleaves Memorial CME Church.He is survived by his son, John E. Green, Jr. (Kelly), and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.Wake Services will be held Friday, March 31, 2017, at Greater Cleaves CME Church (1609 NE 48th, OKC, OK) Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. 6pm, Sigma Pi Phi 6:30pm and Masonic Lodge 7pm. He will lie in state from 10am - 10:45am for public visitation on Saturday. Services will be held 11am Saturday, April 1, 2017, at St. John Missionary Baptist Church (5700 N. Kelley Ave., OKC, OK). In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: Southwestern Urban Foundation, John E. Green Community Fund, PO BOX 17533, Oklahoma City, OK 73136 or www.swurbanfoundation.org