Hilbert L. Bradley

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Hilbert L. Bradley, a distinguished civil rights and labor relations attorney, passed away on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at Naples Community Hospital in Naples, FL. He was born in Renton, AL on January 18, 1920 and moved with his family to Birmingham as a youngster. He graduated from Parker High School. As an undergraduate, he matriculated at Tennessee State University and Indiana University. As the first African-American graduate, he earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence (J. D.) degree from Valparaiso University School of Law. He began his career as a probation officer in the Gary City Court and Deputy Prosecutor in Lake County. He later served as a Corporation Counsel for the City of Gary. When he entered private practice, he represented police, firefighters, and teachers unions, and was significantly involved in a case which resulted in new laws concerning collective bargaining rights for public employees. He served as the NAACP’s legal counsel (pro bono) as co-counsel in landmark civil rights cases. He also served on the Indiana State Bar Association Board of Managers and Interim Judge in Lake County Superior Court. Hilbert participated in several marches on Washington, the most notable being the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom. He lobbied tirelessly for the passage of the 1967 U.S. Civil Rights Bill. He co-founded the Fair Share Organization out of a concern for the lack of economic opportunities for African-Americans. Through direct action and litigation, the group succeeded in getting Blacks in managerial positions. He also co-founded the Indiana Coalition for Black Judicial Official. Through statewide organizing and a public awareness campaign, the group contributed to the important appointments and elections of Blacks, for example, the first Black on the Indiana Court of Appeals, 5th District, and the first Black on the Indiana Supreme Court. Throughout his career, Hilbert was active in many organizations, including the NAACP, Urban League, Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, and the Board of Directors of The Methodist Hospitals. Although he retired from the practice of law in Naples, he remained active as a member the Epsilon Nu Boule’ of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, the Collier County NAACP, and the Bromeos. Hilbert’s many contributions have been recognized with myriad awards, including Valparaiso University’s Andrew Schulze Award, Honorary Doctor of Laws from Indiana University, Sagamore of the Wabash, Mary White Ovington Award, and Gary Frontiers Drum Major award. He leaves to cherish fond memories his devoted wife, Della Burt-Bradley of Naples FL; children: Hilbert, Jr. of Wausau, IN; Hilda (James) Turner of Merrillville, IN; Lamont (Sharon) Bradley of Washington, DC; Gary (Joyce) Bradley of Gary, IN; Stephanie (William) Jackson of Evanston, IL; William Bradley of Albuquerque, NM; Camille Bradley of Charlotte, NC; April Burt of Chicago, IL; and Eugene (Salima) Ruffin of Carlsbad, CA; special sisters-in-law: Janice (Terry) Smith and Joyce Williams of Austin, TX. Visitation will be from 9:00 AM-11:00 AM, funeral services at 11:00 AM on Saturday, October 19, 2013 at St. Timothy Community Church, 1600 West 25th Avenue, Gary, IN 46404. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Guy and Allen Funeral Home of Gary, IN, 2959 West 11th Avenue, Gary, IN 46404. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in name of Hilbert L. Bradley to the following: Rev. Robert E. Lowery Ministry Center at St. Timothy Community Church or Hilbert L. Bradley Fund (BALSA), Valparaiso University School of Law, Wesemann Hall, 656 S. Greenwich Street, Valparaiso, IN 46383.

Funeral Home
Guy & Allen Funeral Directors, Inc.
2959 West 11th Avenue
Gary, IN 46404
(219) 949-6325
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Published in The Times on Oct. 18, 2013
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