June 13, 2024

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Equality opinion

Karen Hastie Williams, Barrier-Breaking Lawyer, Dies at 76

“She gave voice to the strategy of sponsorship, of actively mentoring ladies,” Susan Hoffman, a companion at Crowell & Moring, claimed in an job interview. “She didn’t sit back and say, ‘Good luck!’”

Karen Roberta Hastie was born on Sept. 30, 1944, in Washington. Her father, William H. Hastie, was himself a racial pioneer: In 1937 he grew to become the to start with Black man to provide as a Federal District Court docket choose, a career he remaining to grow to be dean of the regulation faculty at Howard College.

In 1946, when Karen was 2, President Harry S. Truman appointed her father governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, exactly where Karen’s mom, Beryl (Lockhart) Hastie, a homemaker, had been born.

A few yrs later on, Mr. Hastie broke an additional barrier when Truman nominated him to the United States Court docket of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, centered in Philadelphia. He was the country’s first Black appellate court choose.

Ms. Hastie graduated from Bates Faculty, in Lewiston, Maine, in 1966 and gained a master’s diploma from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts College in Massachusetts a calendar year later. Whilst at Tufts she achieved Mr. Williams they married in 1968.

Alongside with her spouse and her son Bo, Mrs. Williams is survived by her daughter, Amanda P. Williams yet another son, Bailey her brother, William H. Hastie and 6 grandchildren.

Right after her time with Justice Marshall, Mrs. Williams served as main counsel for the recently build Senate Finances Committee and then as an administrator in the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in which she pushed reforms that opened federal contracts to minority-owned businesses.