Emison to speak at LMU Law


Please note: This event has been canceled because of weather conditions and will be rescheduled for a later date.

Jan. 18, 2015 — In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law will welcome retired lawyer and author Jim Emison at 12:30 on Thursday, Jan. 21, for a discussion on his forthcoming book, “Elbert Williams: First to Die.”

Since his 2011 retirement, Emison has been investigating the June 20, 1940, murder of NAACP member Elbert Williams, in Brownsville, Tenn. He has authored several articles on Williams’ murder, and the full-length book is set for release later this year. His articles are included in the Encyclopedia of African American History and on the National Civil Rights Museum website (www.civilrightsmuseum.org).

“Elbert Williams’ story is as American as the right to vote, and as southern as Jim Crow,” Emison said. “The story recounts the violent collision in June 1940, in Brownsville, Tenn., of African-American aspirations to vote with white supremacist determination to preserve their lily white electorate by all means necessary, murder included.”

Emison’s research shows that before Medgar Evers, Emmett Till and James Chaney became martyrs in the Civil Rights movement, Elbert Williams was the first NAACP official in the nation to be murdered for his civil rights work, yet few know Williams’ name, let alone his story.

On June 20, 1940, Williams was abducted from his Brownsville home by police. There was no warrant for his arrest, he was not suspected of committing any crime, and there was no probable cause that he had committed a crime. His only offense seemed to stem from being the charter member of the Brownsville NAACP branch.

Police jailed Williams and interrogated him about his plan to hold an NAACP meeting. He did not return home that night and did not show for work the next day. Three days later, his wife was summoned to the Hatchie River, where a body had been recovered. Annie Williams identified her husband and a coroner’s jury was assembled at the riverbank. There was no investigation, no autopsy and no medical examination. Within hours, Williams was buried without a funeral, in an unmarked grave. The FBI investigated and the Department of Justice ordered prosecution, later closing the case abruptly in 1942.

Over 75 years later, Williams’s murder remains unsolved, and many questions about his death and the subsequent investigations remain.

“Elbert Williams’s place in civil rights history as the first known NAACP official murdered is an event of national historic importance,” Emison said. “The murder of Elbert Williams is a crime that screams for justice, which can only be achieved with the completion of an investigation which was abandoned long ago.”

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LMU Law provides gifts for 28 foster children

Gifts with people who wrapped

Dec. 22, 2015 — Faculty, staff and students from Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law came together to provide Christmas gifts for 28 Anderson County foster children last week. The Sixth Annual Foster Care Christmas Party Drive, sponsored by the Student Bar Association and organized by Associate Professor and Director of Experiential Learning Laura Hash, brought in $2,200 worth of gifts.

In November, the Anderson County Juvenile Court provided LMU Law with the names, wish lists and sizes for children identified by DCS case mangers as most in need. The SBA then solicited sponsors from the LMU Law community for each child. LMU Law also put together a stocking stuffed with age-appropriate goodies for each of the children.

Once the collection was complete, faculty, staff and student volunteers organized and wrapped the gifts. Hash delivered the packages to the Anderson County Courthouse, and DCS provided transportation for the children to attend a party on Dec. 17. At the party, Santa Claus distributed the gifts and stockings and the children enjoyed hot chocolate and other treats. At the party, Santa Claus distributed the gifts and stockings and the children enjoyed hot chocolate and other treats.

“The party itself is one of the most joyous occasions that anyone could ever experience,” Hash said. “Foster children have been removed from their families through no fault of their own, and they are in a confusing state of having one foot in their new world and one foot in their old world while their case works its way through the system. On party day, each child experiences the wonder of receiving a special gift from Santa. You can see the wonder on their faces as they realize they have not been forgotten. For law students, especially those who intend to practice family law, it is a great reminder who they will serve once they complete their education.”

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LMU Law to Honor Judge Joe D. Duncan

Duncan, Hon Joe D. (Robe)Nov. 2, 2015 — Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law will honor Judge Joe D. Duncan with a portrait unveiling at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9, at LMU Law.

LMU Law Dean and Vice President Gary R. Wade announced plans to honor Duncan earlier this year. He will join the ranks of University namesakes and esteemed lawyers Abraham Lincoln and John J. Duncan, Jr., who also have prominently displayed portraits at LMU Law. The LMU Law courtroom is also named in honor of the late Robert H. Watson, Jr., who was a noted Knoxville attorney and a member of the LMU Board of Trustees.

Joe D. Duncan enlisted in the U.S. Army and transferred to the Air Force where he served as a navigator from 1943 to 1945, reaching the rank of 2nd Lieutenant before the end of World War II. He returned home, married his childhood sweetheart, Lou, and finished his education earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee and a LL.M. degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Upon admission to the bar, he joined the practice of his older brother, John J. Duncan, Sr.

Joe D. Duncan served as an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1950 to 1953. After ending his term with the FBI, he rejoined the firm of Duncan and Duncan. In 1966, he was elected as the Criminal Court Judge for Knox County, where he served for nine years before being appointed by Gov. Winfield Dunn to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. During the last three years of his 15-year tenure, he served as Presiding Judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, a position that included the administrative responsibilities for the nine-member court.

“Judge Joe D. Duncan was well known for his patience, courtesy and sound judgment,” Wade said. “He was especially well known for his humor and storytelling. He mentored many members of the bench during his tenure and continues to participate in bench-and-bar activities in Knoxville. It is very fitting that his portrait have a prominent position in the LMU-Duncan School of Law, where it is our mission to educate the next generation of bench-and-bar members to serve Appalachia and beyond.”

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Tennessee Judicial Conference Foundation endows new scholarship in Wade’s honor

Wade, G_DSOL_PMR-10Nov. 2, 2015 — The Tennessee Judicial Conference Foundation has announced the creation of an endowed scholarship in honor of Duncan School of Law Dean Gary R. Wade, who recently retired from the Tennessee Supreme Court.

James E. Beckner, president of the TJCF, noted that the foundation’s board wanted to recognize Wade, who founded the organization in 1995 during his term as president of the conference. The scholarship will be awarded to an LMU Law student in the 2016-17 school year. Thereafter, it will be awarded on a rotating basis with Wade’s alma mater, the University of Tennessee College of Law. Beckner surprised Wade with the announcement during the Tennessee Judicial Conference in Franklin on Oct. 22.

“I have been blessed to be a part of the Tennessee Judiciary for the last 28 years,” Wade said. “I am honored by and grateful for the generosity of my colleagues; however, I am most of all pleased that law students at the LMU-Duncan School of Law and UT’s College of Law will benefit from the scholarship for years to come.”

The TJCF was established in 1995 as a non-profit foundation to award need-based scholarships for students at each of the colleges of law within the state. The Foundation is funded largely through gifts and pledges from current and former members of the Tennessee judiciary. The TJCF now awards 20 scholarships to students at each of the six law schools throughout the state.

Wade retired from the Tennessee Supreme Court in September following nine years of service. He was appointed by Gov. Phil Bredesen in 2006. Wade was elected by his fellow justices to serve a two-year term as chief justice in September 2012. He was re-elected to the Supreme Court last year in a retention election.

Wade served the Tennessee judiciary for 28 years as a judge, justice and chief justice. He was appointed to the Court of Criminal Appeals in 1987, where he also served as a presiding judge from 1998 until 2006. Prior to his judiciary appointment, Wade operated a private law practice. He was elected mayor of Sevierville in 1977, where he served for a decade. He also served as the city attorney for Pigeon Forge from 1973 to 1987. Wade attended the University of Tennessee, and received a bachelor of science in 1970. He received his J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1973.

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Steiner to speak at LMU Law

Harrogate, Tennessee, Oct. 30, 2015 — South Texas College of Law’s Dr. Mark Steiner will be the featured speaker in Lincoln Memorial University’s annual R. Gerald McMurtry Lecture. Presented by LMU’s Duncan School of Law and the Abraham Lincoln Institute for the Study of Leadership and Public Policy, the program will take place at noon on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015, in LMU Law’s courtroom. It is free and open to the public.

Steiner will present a lecture entitled “My Fellow Citizens.” He is author of An Honest Calling: The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln, which was named among the “Best of the Best” for 2007 by the Association of American University Presses and given a superior achievement award by the Illinois Historical Society. He is a former editor of the Lincoln Legal Papers.

Steiner teaches American Legal History, Consumer Transactions, Internet Legal Research and Texas Pretrial Procedure. He has twice been selected as a Fulbright Scholar. In 2011, he taught at the University of Latvia and in 2005, he taught at the College of Law at National Taiwan University. He also has taught at the University of Houston Law Center and William Mitchell College of Law.

Steiner’s articles about legal education and American legal history have appeared in journals including the Marquette Law Review, Missouri Law Review, The Journal of Legal Education, Wisconsin International Law Journal and the Illinois Historical Journal. He frequently presents lectures about Lincoln’s legal career before bar, civic and academic groups. He is a member of the Council for the Consumer and Commercial Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and is the former chair of the Consumer Law Task Force of the Houston Bar Association. Steiner is a member of the Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas and a member of the Houston Blues Society.

The lecture will be simulcast to the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum on the LMU Main Campus in Harrogate, Tennessee. CLE credit is available for attorneys. Please email kathy.baughman@LMUnet.edu to reserve a space.



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Lincoln Memorial University - John J. Duncan, Jr. School of Law (LMU-DSOL) is provisionally accredited
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