As the first African-American attorney in Selma, Ala., J.L. Chestnut Jr. campaigned to free jailed Civil Rights activists in the 1960s — an effort he detailed in his autobiography, Black In Selma. Chestnut died of kidney failure on Sept. 30; he was 77.
Chestnut earned his law degree at Washington D.C.'s Howard University, but soon returned to his hometown of Selma, Alabama, where he opened a law office -- before legal protections like the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were passed. His new memoir is called Black in Selma.