175 Makers of History: Clarence Cooper

Clarence Cooper 67L
One of Emory's First Two African American Law Graduates

Clarence Cooper

In 1965, Clarence Cooper, with Marvin S. Arrington, transferred from Howard University School of Law to become one of Emory's first full-time African American law students.

Cooper, who earned an undergraduate degree at Clark College, later earned a master's degree in public administration from Harvard and a diploma from MIT.

President Bill Clinton appointed him a judge for the Northern District Court of Georgia in 1994. Cooper has presided over many controversial cases, including the 2006 case, Selman v. Cobb County School District, in which he ordered a Georgia school district to remove stickers from textbooks that called evolution "a theory, not a fact," ruling that these stickers were an endorsement of religion and a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.