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West Virginia's first African-American justice honored with WVU's Neil S. Bucklew Award for Social Justice

Franklin D. Cleckley, the Arthur B. Hodges Professor of Law at West Virginia University’s College of Law, has been honored with the 2013 Neil S. Bucklew Award for Social Justice, given by the University’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in conjunction with the Social Justice Council.

Cleckley will be recognized Thursday (April 11) at 6 p.m. during the Evening of Honors for Faculty and Staff, at Blaney House.

Cleckley, WVU’s first African-American full professor, has served on the College of Law faculty for 44 years. He also briefly served on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals after his appointment by Gov. Gaston Caperton, becoming the first African-American justice in West Virginia.

In 1990, he began the Franklin D. Cleckley Foundation, a non-profit designed to help former convicts receive an education and find jobs. He’s been described as a one-man legal aid society as he helped the many people who came to him with nowhere else to go.

The Huntington native attended colleges in Indiana and joined the U.S. Navy as a Judge Advocate General officer in the middle of the Vietnam War. After serving in the military, Cleckley attended Harvard University to receive his Master of Laws and attended Exeter University in England for further post-graduate studies.

He continues to hold the Arthur B. Hodges Chair of Law, which he received in 1969, and is the author of Evidence Handbook for West Virginia Lawyers and West Virginia Criminal Procedure Handbook.

Cleckley has been recognized with many awards, including the West Virginia Human Rights Commission Civil Rights Award, the Thurgood Marshall Award from the West Virginia NAACP and the Civil Libertarian of the Year Award from the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union.

The Bucklew award is given to the candidate who has best demonstrated outstanding leadership, courage and support on a continuous basis in of social justice at WVU. In addition to the recognition, the award winner will also receive a $2,500 stipend that may be used for professional development or directed to one of several worthy WVU Foundation accounts on behalf of the award winner.

Because Cleckley will be retiring this semester, this Bucklew Award is for his lifetime achievement.
The recipients of the following awards will be recognized at this invitation-only dinner event: Nick Evans Advising Awards, Heebink Service Awards, Benedum Research Scholars, Neil S. Bucklew Award and Foundation Outstanding Teachers. 

Contact University Events at 304.293.7132 or“> for more information.

CONTACT: Sharon Mallow; Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion304.293.5496;
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