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 Bobby Lee Hill

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Bobby Lee Hill

Birth
Tignall, Wilkes County, Georgia, USA
Death
1 Dec 2000 (aged 58–59)
Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia, USA
Burial
Burial Details Unknown
Memorial ID
160704733 View Source

Bobby Lee Hill, 59, of Savannah, died Friday, Dec. 1, 2000 at Memorial Health University Medical Center.

He was born in Tignall, Ga. and had lived in Savannah since 1959. Every moment a flash of genius from a man who enriched everyone's lives.

He was an Attorney, former State Legislator of 14 years, former candidate for Lieutenant Governor, former candidate for Mayor of Savannah, Ga., former attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

He was founder and CEO of the National Legal Network, Inc. for 15 years.

He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., former member of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, former member of the Savannah State University Alumni Association, former president of the Savannah State NAACP Chapter, former Man of the Year for Savannah State University, past president of the debating society of Savannah State University, past president of Howard University Law Students, and was listed in Who's Who Among African Americans.

He was past president of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials and was named Legislator of the Year by the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.



Controversial civil rights activist dies
Savannah Morning News, 03 Dec 2000

Instrumental in desegregating local public schools, representing the "downtrodden."

SAVANNAH - Former state representative and well-known civil rights activist Bobby Lee Hill died Friday at Memorial Health University Medical Center. He had cancer.

Hill, 59, served as the legislator for the 127th House district in west Savannah for 14 years, losing in 1982 in the Democratic primary to Roy Allen.

"He gave help for the downtrodden and gave people hope," his daughter, Jessi Cleaver said. "He was a brilliant man with a game plan. He was an essential and necessary civil rights activist."

Well-known for his skills as a trial lawyer and as an orator, Hill worked with Fletcher Farrington in their own firm, Hill, Jones and Farrington. They started the firm in 1971 and championed civil rights issues.

Robbie Robinson, later a Savannah alderman, was a member of the firm.

He later was disbarred and convicted in federal court.

"He was as good a lawyer as ever walked in the room," Farrington said Saturday.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spent a summer as a law clerk at their firm, Farrington said.

"He (Hill) was a role model for many young people, both black and white, back then," Farrington said.

In 1968, Hill represented plaintiffs in the case that desegregated the Savannah-Chatham County school system, Farrington said.

Hill encouraged many young people to enter the legal field because of his work in public service, Farrington said.

Richard Shinhoster, also a local civil rights activist, was a year behind Hill at Savannah State College, now University.

"He convinced many of us we could have an impact on the world in which we lived," Shinhoster said.

Hill graduated from Savannah State in 1963 and joined the bar in 1967 after getting his law degree from Howard University. He was elected to the state House in 1968.

"Bobby was one of the most enduring people I have met," Shinhoster said.

But, he said, it was difficult for Hill when he left politics.

He ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1986 and 1990.

"His defeat in the political arena took a toll on him," Shinhoster said. "He was a proud person."

Hill also had several problems in the legal community.

Hill was disbarred by the state Supreme Court in October 1984 for mishandling five clients' cases. He later was convicted in federal court for mishandling federal job training funds.

Most recently he served as the CEO of National Legal Network Group Inc., a lawyer referral service, which he started after his disbarment in the mid-1980s.

Shinhoster last spoke with Hill just three weeks ago to get legal advice from him.

"Bobby was just an inspiration. He was a voice for people who could not speak for themselves," Shinhoster said.

"It is always difficult when a giant of a person is no longer able to exist at that level," Shinhoster said. "The community supported him, to give him an opportunity to succeed."

Otis Johnson, local school board member and a dean at Savannah State University, got to know Hill at Savannah State.

"He was a brilliant person, who had one of the finest minds anyone could have encountered," Johnson said. "His oratorical skills were almost matchless."

Lawyers used to go to the courthouse just to hear Hill try his cases, Johnson said.

He was the first black elected to the House from Chatham County since Reconstruction, Johnson said.

"It's a tragedy that his full potential was never realized," Johnson said. "I always looked at him like a Greek tragic figure."

Bobby Lee Hill, 59, of Savannah, died Friday, Dec. 1, 2000 at Memorial Health University Medical Center.

He was born in Tignall, Ga. and had lived in Savannah since 1959. Every moment a flash of genius from a man who enriched everyone's lives.

He was an Attorney, former State Legislator of 14 years, former candidate for Lieutenant Governor, former candidate for Mayor of Savannah, Ga., former attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

He was founder and CEO of the National Legal Network, Inc. for 15 years.

He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., former member of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, former member of the Savannah State University Alumni Association, former president of the Savannah State NAACP Chapter, former Man of the Year for Savannah State University, past president of the debating society of Savannah State University, past president of Howard University Law Students, and was listed in Who's Who Among African Americans.

He was past president of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials and was named Legislator of the Year by the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.



Controversial civil rights activist dies
Savannah Morning News, 03 Dec 2000

Instrumental in desegregating local public schools, representing the "downtrodden."

SAVANNAH - Former state representative and well-known civil rights activist Bobby Lee Hill died Friday at Memorial Health University Medical Center. He had cancer.

Hill, 59, served as the legislator for the 127th House district in west Savannah for 14 years, losing in 1982 in the Democratic primary to Roy Allen.

"He gave help for the downtrodden and gave people hope," his daughter, Jessi Cleaver said. "He was a brilliant man with a game plan. He was an essential and necessary civil rights activist."

Well-known for his skills as a trial lawyer and as an orator, Hill worked with Fletcher Farrington in their own firm, Hill, Jones and Farrington. They started the firm in 1971 and championed civil rights issues.

Robbie Robinson, later a Savannah alderman, was a member of the firm.

He later was disbarred and convicted in federal court.

"He was as good a lawyer as ever walked in the room," Farrington said Saturday.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spent a summer as a law clerk at their firm, Farrington said.

"He (Hill) was a role model for many young people, both black and white, back then," Farrington said.

In 1968, Hill represented plaintiffs in the case that desegregated the Savannah-Chatham County school system, Farrington said.

Hill encouraged many young people to enter the legal field because of his work in public service, Farrington said.

Richard Shinhoster, also a local civil rights activist, was a year behind Hill at Savannah State College, now University.

"He convinced many of us we could have an impact on the world in which we lived," Shinhoster said.

Hill graduated from Savannah State in 1963 and joined the bar in 1967 after getting his law degree from Howard University. He was elected to the state House in 1968.

"Bobby was one of the most enduring people I have met," Shinhoster said.

But, he said, it was difficult for Hill when he left politics.

He ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1986 and 1990.

"His defeat in the political arena took a toll on him," Shinhoster said. "He was a proud person."

Hill also had several problems in the legal community.

Hill was disbarred by the state Supreme Court in October 1984 for mishandling five clients' cases. He later was convicted in federal court for mishandling federal job training funds.

Most recently he served as the CEO of National Legal Network Group Inc., a lawyer referral service, which he started after his disbarment in the mid-1980s.

Shinhoster last spoke with Hill just three weeks ago to get legal advice from him.

"Bobby was just an inspiration. He was a voice for people who could not speak for themselves," Shinhoster said.

"It is always difficult when a giant of a person is no longer able to exist at that level," Shinhoster said. "The community supported him, to give him an opportunity to succeed."

Otis Johnson, local school board member and a dean at Savannah State University, got to know Hill at Savannah State.

"He was a brilliant person, who had one of the finest minds anyone could have encountered," Johnson said. "His oratorical skills were almost matchless."

Lawyers used to go to the courthouse just to hear Hill try his cases, Johnson said.

He was the first black elected to the House from Chatham County since Reconstruction, Johnson said.

"It's a tragedy that his full potential was never realized," Johnson said. "I always looked at him like a Greek tragic figure."

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