Will Paterson correct injustice against Maddox?

Jr. | , Alton H. Maddox | 4/12/2011, 4:35 p.m.

My reinstatement to the practice of law in New York since Gov. David Paterson headed the executive branch of government seems to be of great concern to persons who I meet in the street. To be sure, the governor of New York has broad, ameliorative powers under a checks and balance system. He also enjoys the powers of succession. Yes he can!

I landed in New York in 1973 and stepped into a political and legal hornet's nest. After I had created a controversy at the University of Georgia Law School, I was looking for a refuge from white supremacy. In 1973, I was unaware that New York City had been a member of the Confederate States of America and that "Dixie" still ruled New York.

Blacks were still debating whether they should be operating within the system or outside the system. Nobody knew the nature of the system or that systems were necessary for the maintenance of white supremacy and monopoly capitalism. Blacks are still resolving these riddles.

Cong. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. exited Congress in June 1970. A new political system would prevent another Powell from ever securing political office again. No church would be able to outduel the Democratic Party. Also, the state's election laws, which select Black candidates, had to be tightened. White lawyers were calling the shots on all matters affecting Blacks. If a Black lawyer was available, he or she was a legal valet. This was the complaint raised in Freedom's Journal. Whites were pleading our causes. It still exists 182 years later. I am a student of Charles Hamilton Houston. Thus, this practice is offensive. Unfortunately, most Blacks have never heard of the best lawyer in American jurisprudence. Hamilton believed that only Black lawyers could address legal problems of


By December 1987, I had already acquired the reputation of giving legal guidance to the Black community. The New York Post started writing editorials demanding my disbarment for fear that other Black lawyers would attempt to emulate me. For whites, this meant that my thinking was African-centered. In February 1988, State Sen. David Paterson was a member of the minority party in his legislative body. He represented my senatorial district, and I had initially supported him and had repeatedly voted for him as the lesser of two evils. I share the Hon. Elijah Muhammad's view on Black politicians. Gov. Mario Cuomo invited me to Albany to discuss Tawana Brawley. I accepted on my terms. The Black political establishment went ballistic. They felt betrayed. They said political subjects should not be allowed to meet with the governor. This is a prerogative of Black selected officials.

To understand Paterson, you must connect the dots. Former Mayor David N. Dinkins and former New York Secretary of State Basil Paterson are not only close allies but also the allies of State Attorney General Robert Abrams, who was Dinkins' roommate in Albany.

Abrams was former Gov. Eliot Spitzer's political mentor, and Spitzer selected Paterson as his lieutenant governor. I was an outspoken critic of both Abrams and Spitzer while Paterson was serving as a member of their inner circle. His loyalty to them led to his selection as lieutenant governor.