Growing up in Oneida County in upstate New York in the 1960s both shaped and motivated attorney Bert Lockwood. His father, who doggedly climbed from poverty to become a lawyer and a judge, instilled in him the lesson: “You make your community a better place.”
And it was also there, in his largely white suburban community, that Lockwood, the high school football captain, befriended Joe Reed, a black straight-A student from a poor family.
“I got to see the sickness of racism and its irrationality through his eyes,” said Lockwood, noting that Reed later went on to obtain a doctorate in chemistry and now works for the National Science Foundation. “He always stood for me as both the hope and tragedy of America. How many more Joe Reeds are there out there who weren’t given the opportunity and the chance?”