Fordham Law

Fordham Alumnus Wins New York State Bar Association Civil Rights Award

February 02, 2006

Distinguished Fordham Law School alumnus Judge Cornelius V. Blackshear '77 has been named the recipient of the 2006 Haywood Burns Memorial Award by the Civil Rights Committee of the New York State Bar Association.

The award was presented January 26 at the New York Marriott Marquis in Manhattan as part of NYSBA’s 129th Annual Meeting.

Judge Blackshear, currently a partner at the New York law firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP, was the first African-American appointed as a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge. He served on the bench in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York for more than 20 years.

"Judge Blackshear is one of Fordham’s most distinguished alumni," said Dean William Michael Treanor.  "We are pleased to join in the celebration of his outstanding career in the law and grateful that he continues to be an active member of our community, sharing his tremendous wisdom with our alumni, faculty, and students."

Blackshear is a 1977 graduate of the Law School.  Prior to becoming a judge in 1979, Blackshear served with the New York City Police Department, and was an assistant U.S. Trustee for the Southern District of New York.  In 1983, he was the first African-American to be appointed as a U.S. Trustee.

Created in 1998 by the NYSBA Committee on Civil Rights, the award is named for Haywood Burns, who sought to expand the civil rights of all people. Throughout Burns’s career, he used the legal system to address social injustice. He is best known for his work with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his defense of Attica prison rioters and black activist Angela Davis.