NCCU scholarship fund honors case originally investigated by CRRJ

In 2014, CRRJ brought wide public attention to the case of Booker T. Spicely, a soldier killed by a bus driver in Durham, North Carolina.  Recent developments in the case signify the importance of the research CRRJ conducted nine years ago.  

North Carolina Central University Law School officials announced last month that the school was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to create the Private Booker T. Spicely Endowed Scholarship Fund.

In 2014, Northeastern law student Shaneka Louise Davis ‘(14) was assigned in CRRJ’s clinic to investigate Spicely’s case.

“CRRJ was one of the highlights of my law school experience,” said Davis, now an attorney and training social epidemiologist. “I lived in Durham briefly as a child and was honored to work on Pvt. Spicely’s case specifically. It allowed me to use the law in the way in which I intended, to right the wrongs of historical injustices that far too many Black Americans experienced for no reason other than systems of racial bias and prejudice.”

Spicely was a U.S. Army soldier stationed at Camp Butner who obtained a military pass to visit Durham. He was shot to death in 1944 after boarding a local bus, allegedly for violating the Jim Crow segregation laws that applied to Durham bus passengers. At the time the buses were owned and operated by the Duke Power Company.

Spicely’s case can be researched in CRRJ’s digital archive.

In 2022, Davis’ paper on the Spicely case led civil rights lawyers and other advocates in North Carolina to form a committee to publicize the case and seek remedies on behalf of the Spicely family.

“I’m excited that a scholarship has been created in Pvt. Spicely’s honor and that it will go to law students assisting veterans,” said Davis, whose father is a veteran originally from the South. “I appreciate the work of the North Carolina civil rights attorneys and advocates for their continued efforts to seek restorative justice for Pvt. Spicely and his family, and hope that the scholarship helps to bring Pvt. Spicely’s relatives some comfort.”

Duke Power’s contribution to North Carolina Central Law School in Spicely’s name will “benefit law students actively involved with and enrolled in the Veterans Law Clinic, and who are working on issues impacting the legal and civil rights of veterans,” according to a press release by North Carolina Central University.

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