Celebrating the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Lisa Ramsay Cole | January 15, 2023

Two of a kind: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Dr, Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we as a nation celebrate one of our national heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we take a moment to stop and reflect on Dr. King’s rich legacy, and that inescapable network of mutuality binding all people that Dr. King so eloquently spoke about. That legacy is one characterized by uniqueness, a uniqueness found in an individual willing to do that which seemed impossible. Dr. King’s uniqueness is found in his answering the weighty, and often thankless, call of service in the face of adversity so great it ultimately cost him his life. He answered that call and did all that he could as a single voice, one man with an exclusive vision. His vision was that, amid and despite Jim Crow control of the south, the legal mandates of 14th and 15th Amendments of the United States Constitution should and someday would be realized in a meaningful way. Pursuing that very vision, Dr. King made the ultimate sacrifice a person may make for his fellow man and nation having laid down his life so that society might enjoy a more perfect union—where the laws of the nation were consistently and fairly applied, and little black children and little white children alike might enjoy America’s basic freedoms to which they were entitled by law as a birthright.

At Lewis Thomason, we are proud of our heritage, that one of our founders, the Honorable L. Clure Morton, historically desegrated the schools in Nashville. We at Lewis Thomason, celebrate Dr. King and the rich legacy that he left us. It is a legacy that spurs on the hopeful to fight for the continued pursuit of the American dream for all. It is a fight that we embrace as part of our firm heritage and culture and it is demonstrated in our every decision–from our diversity scholarships designed to make a legal education more accessible for diverse students, whose perspective the legal profession most desperately needs, to our firm’s newly expanded criminal defense/government investigations practice spearheaded by John Manson, Jim Weatherly, Preston Hawkins, Chris Sullivan, and Miles McDowell.

As we come together as a law firm and as a nation to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy, we pause to highlight the work of our own visionary, Special Counsel John Manson. Inspired by Dr. King’s legacy and vision, John has and continues to pave a path of justice and equality for all—the fortunate and the less fortunate, the guilty and the falsely accused, black and white.

John was a partner at one of Tennessee’s only African American-owned law firms, the premier Manson Johnson Conner, PLLC, where he handled complex litigation. Additionally, John has served Davidson County as a Judicial Magistrate and Special Master presiding over some of the most serious offenses facing our community and making the types of judicial decisions that shape the heart of the criminal justice system. Simultaneous to achieving noteworthy accomplishments as an attorney, John has served the bar in various volunteer roles, including as president of Napier-Looby, the Nashville bar association committed to addressing the needs of and advancing African American attorneys. John received his education from Historically Black Colleges and Universities with a Bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College and a Juris Doctorate degree from Howard University School of Law.

John’s work outside the courtroom is as compelling as his professional achievements. John is a husband and dedicated father of two daughters, an accomplished musician, and a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. fraternity. He is devoted to combatting domestic violence, and has been a board and faculty member for various institutions, including the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence. John served as president of the Nashville Symphony Chorus, and a board member of Epic Girl, Inc., an organization committed to helping at-risk girls in our community.

The heart of a servant, a man committed to the less fortunate, John Manson is the epitome of Dr. King’s legacy. Lewis Thomason is proud to count John among our team of many phenomenal and devoted attorneys, who are making a difference ensuring that Dr. King’s vision of a more perfect union—where the laws of the nation are consistently and fairly applied, and little black children and little white children alike might enjoy America’s basic freedoms—is realized because we recognize that, in fact, we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one of us directly, affects all of us indirectly.

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