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Celebrating the Life of Julian R. Dugas, a DC Trailblazer for Justice

CCE mourns the loss of longtime CCE Board Director Julian Riley Dugas who recently passed away of congestive heart failure on April 12, 2014. Mr. Dugas was someone whose name carried great weight in the District of Columbia because of the myriad of extraordinary contributions that he made to the city with more than 60 years as a lawyer, humanitarian, teacher and civil servant. 

Five years after graduating from Howard University School of Law in 1949, he became the youngest member of the NAACP legal team and was Of Counsel in the DC school desegregation case, Bolling v. Sharpe, a companion case to Brown v. Board of Education. 

Mr. Dugas was a stalwart leader in the District of Columbia, leading the District’s Home Rule Campaign, becoming the founding director of DC’s Neighborhood Legal Services program, serving the city’s poorest residents and as a member of the DC Board of Education.  He also served in a number of DC government related leadership positions as the Director of Licenses and Inspection; Director of Department of Economic Development; Chairman of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board; and General Assistant to Mayor Walter Washington.  Mr. Dugas served as the Assistant Corporation Counsel, Office of the Corporation Counsel and later became DC’s first City Administrator under Mayor Washington’s administration.

 After spending most of his tenure in DC government, he returned to Howard University serving as Special Assistant to the President during the 1980s and as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Howard University School of Law for nearly 50 years until his retirement in 2010.

Mr. Dugas’ memorial service was held at Howard University School of Law’s Dumbarton Chapel on April 25th drawing special dignitaries throughout the city including current Mayor Vincent Gray who gave remarks, former Mayor Anthony Williams, and other prominent DC leaders.  During the service, DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson presented a ceremonial resolution honoring Mr. Dugas’ sweeping service and leadership to the District.   

Mr. Dugas was an active CCE Board Director. Upon joining the Board in 1989, he contributed to a number of CCE led projects furthering the administration of justice in the city.  During his memorial service, the consistent theme from distinguished individuals who memorialized him spoke about his fervent commitment to social justice and his call, in later years, to clear the way for the future cadre of leaders to continue seeking a greater equality for all.

CCE will pay tribute to Mr. Dugas at our upcoming June 5th Board of Director’s meeting that will commemorate the 60th and 50th anniversaries of Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and discuss educational opportunity in the District. Please click here to read more about the remarkable life of Julian Dugas.

We express our sincere condolences to the Dugas family and will remember him always with great fondness.


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