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Monday, January 13, 2020

Meet the Man Who Paved the Way For the First Black Member of the Delaware Supreme Court

The 1991 Delaware NAACP “Diversity in the Legal Community” Initiative Provided the Leadership For the Creation of Opportunity in the State of Delaware Judicial Branch of Government.

Samuel L. Guy

Nationwide — Wilmington City Councilman Samuel L. Guy, Esq., comments, “The NAACP won. Celebration of our efforts to open the pipeline of opportunity occurred on Friday, January 3rd with the investiture of the first Black member of the Delaware Supreme Court. This is a significant milestone in the effort to bring about visible change and is a testament to the importance of the NAACP in the short term and in the long run.”

Tamika Montgomery-Reeves, currently 38-years old, arrived in Delaware during the midst of the “Diversity in the Legal Community” movement. Had she arrived in Delaware at an earlier time, there would not have been as many opportunities welcoming her talents. “She entered an open pipeline and navigated her way through to the top. We fought in hopes that future generations would not have to fight,” Guy adds.

In 1991, Guy, who is an NAACP Life Member and Architect of the Delaware Diversity in the Legal Community movement, initiated the movement by being the person who filed a formal Complaint with the Delaware Human Relations Commission in his role as the Attorney and Chairman of the Legal Redress Committee for the Wilmington Branch NAACP.

He comments, “In 1985, I publicly explained and documented during the Diversity in the Legal Community Dinner that it was the NAACP’s hope that individuals who reap the benefits of the door opening efforts of the NAACP would do their part by: 1. Recognizing the importance of the NAACP in creating an environment where historically unavailable opportunities now exist; 2. Assisting NAACP efforts to open doors of opportunity for others; 3. Entering the doors of opportunity without compromising their integrity or becoming a mechanism/tool used to inflict harm upon the Black community.”

In 1992, Attorney Guy became the President/Chairman of the NAACP Delaware State Conference of Branches and responsibility for the NAACP Diversity in the Legal Community movement moved with him. The project included public laser like focus on multiple aspects of the heretofore neglected issues of diversity in the judicial branch of government.

Because many of the state’s law firms had no minority partners and few minority associates, Guy requested an investigation and conciliation regarding the absence of Black judges at the state and federal levels, employees in the judicial branch of government, and citizens on juries, etc.

In January 1993, President-elect, Richard D. Kirk, Esq., urged the creation of a “task force or special committee whose long-range goal is creating diversity in the Delaware Bar.”

It took some time for it happen, but the organization is finally reaping the results of what they have sowed. The Delaware Supreme Court finally has it’s first ever Black member.


Samuel L. Guy
City Councilman At-Large