December 15, 1988
Wiley Branton died of a heart attack. Branton was a civil rights leader in Arkansas who helped desegregate the University of Arkansas School of Law and later filed suit against the Little Rock School Board. His work to end legal segregation and inequality in Arkansas and the nation was well known. Branton became dean of Howard University Law School during a troubled period in the school’s existence and was proud of his work in restoring some of its historical prominence as a creator of black civil rights lawyers. As a member of a Chicago law firm in the early 1980s, he resisted Senator Jesse Helms’s efforts to obtain access to the FBI’s files on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.