In Memorium - Sheila High King

Shelia High King, a founding member of the Thurgood Marshall Law Society passed on August 25th, 2008 Shelia Thoms High was the second eldest of seven children born to Henry and Gloria High Cole in Washington, D.C.

After matriculating from the DC Teachers College and receiving her Bachelor of Arts from the University of the District of Columbia, Ms. King received her Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University in 1988. In 1988 Sheila was recruited from Washington, D.C. to practice at the prestigious law firm of Edwards and Angell, Rhode Island’s largest law firm. She later practiced with the law firms of Peabody and Arnold, and Cetrulo and Capone, partner and co-director of the latter firm’s Providence office. She was elected by her peers to serve on the Rhode Island Bar Association House of Delegates and served on its Executive Committee from 2004-2006.

A member of both the Rhode Island and Massachusetts Bar, she was a highly regarded and accomplished attorney who practiced in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for more than 18 years. She was admitted before the U.S. District Court in both states, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. Active in the Thurgood Marshall Law Society, she played a major role in The Thurgood Marshall Law Society’s outreach program to Rhode Island schools to educate students about school desegregation, integration, and affirmative action on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.

In 2005, she accepted a position heading legal operations in the Office of the Child Advocate for the State of Rhode Island. Sheila was compassionate about her work and was an unwavering advocate for the protection of the rights of countless children who would otherwise have been lost in the system.

In 2007, she returned to the District of Columbia to serve as the Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officers and Council of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). Her lifetime contributions to the DC community included serving as the Communications Director at Youth Pride, Inc. in the 1970’s. an active journalist in the National Association of Black Journalists, her skills as a professional writer helped in the marketing of Howard University. As a communications executive for the National Alliance of Postal and Federal Employees, she was an advocate in helping to shape national labor policy and create opportunities for American workers. She was an active member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, and a founding member of the National Black Leadership Roundtable (NBLR), whose work was recognized in the Black Leadership Family Plan and in NBLR’s many publications. Working with NBLR, Sheila served on the Steering Committee and National Legislative Committee for the 40th Anniversary March on Washington for Jobs, Peace & Justice that resulted in the passage of the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday, spawned by the Free South Africa Movement and the National Council of Negro Women’s Black Family Reunion.

For more than a decade Sheila helped to establish policy nationally as an active and engaged member of the NAACP, serving as a volunteer on its national legislative mobilization team, and locally in the DC area, volunteering to shape and advance its ACTSO project, helping African American students to realize their excellence and tap into their tremendous potential.

It is fitting that Sheila transitioned from this life on a day remembered for distinctions in history: the 88th Anniversary of Women’s Equality Day memorializing the passing of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution establishing the Woman’s Right to Vote; the 20th Anniversary of the 1988 Jackson for President Campaign and launching of the National Rainbow Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund; the 45th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs, Peace & Justice; and just days before the 23rd Annual NCNW Black Family Reunion. Sheila’s imprimatur is indelibly etched in each of these actions which have made America a More Perfect Union. Her strategic, selfless, principled, behind-the-scenes, indefatigable work, courage, faith, writing, and oratorical skills played no small role in getting each of us to this Horizon of New Hope.

Shelia’s daughter, Candace King is a 2005 graduate of Roger Williams Law School. She now resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Today, 2/23, In History

Black History Month

in 1868 - Birthdate of W.E.B. DuBois

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