Judge William Thompson Sr., 89 and still kicking

William Thompson Sr. is showing no signs of stopping. The father of mayoral candidate and former City Comptroller Bill Thompson Jr. Thompson continues his work in arbitration and mediation. He graduated from Brooklyn College and later Brooklyn Law School, where he was one of six Blacks in the graduating class of 1954. He started out practicing criminal and tenant law. One of the first Blacks elected to the state Senate in 1965, serving until 1968. While in office, Thompson was chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee on Child Care Needs, and he sponsored over 25 bills that were signed into law. His colleagues at the time included a dynamic class of Black political heavyweights that included Shirley Chisholm, Charlie Rangel and Percy Sutton. “When I was elected, there were only three Black elected senators. Almost nothing was Black before we got there. It was totally white and we integrated it.” In 1969, Thompson was elected to the New York City Council, where he served until 1973. A year later, he became a justice of the Supreme Court and was designated an associate justice of the Appellate Term, 2nd and 11th districts, which covers Queens, Richmond and Kings counties. He was a judge for 20 years. He was also a founding member and continues to be a board member of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration.
Said Thompson, “We got more Blacks in the union getting all kinds of jobs from A to Z. Those are the things that started to count. It makes you feel good, the doors you open.” Excerpts from Amsterdam News by Cyril Josh Barker.


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