Otis King, 1935-2012

A few summers ago, I was doing some work at my father’s law practice, which is located in an office just between the Museum District and Midtown. I was told to mail a few letters, so I drove to the Southmore Post Office on Almeda. Outside, I saw a fascinating plaque.

It commemorated an event which occurred in the 60s, when the Post Office location was the Weingarden Grocery Store, was the site of the first sit-in in the Houston area. The leader of this protest was a local TSU law student named Otis King.

King would later be the dean of TSU’s Thurgood Marshall Law School and the first African-American City Attorney, serving from 1976 to 1978 under Mayor Fred Hofheinz. Hofheinz, upon being reached for comment by the Chronicle in their story about King, called him “outstanding” and “well-respected by everyone.” King died the day before Thanksgiving at 77.

King was one of those pioneers in Civil Rights so avante-garde, that some say he was the inspiration for Barbara Jordan (whom he was a debate partner with during college). He was a fantastic citizen of Houston and will be missed.

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