A Tribute to the Real ‘TNT’: Thomas N. Todd

by | Feb 29, 2024

Thomas N. Todd, a civil rights leader and orator extraordinaire, dedicated his life to fighting for social justice and equality. Born on September 24, 1938, in Demopolis, Alabama, Todd’s impoverished upbringing didn’t hinder his determination. Despite personal tragedies, including the loss of both parents at a young age, he pursued education, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Southern University.

After graduation, Todd’s commitment to justice led him back to Southern University for law school, where he was admitted based on his potential recognized by a dean. His legal career was marked by groundbreaking cases challenging police brutality and racial discrimination. Notably, he indicted a Chicago police officer in 1968, a rare feat at the time, and actively participated in civil rights lawsuits.

Todd’s influence extended beyond the courtroom; he mentored aspiring lawyers and advocated for educational and economic opportunities for marginalized communities. He taught at Northwestern University School of Law, becoming its first full-time black law professor, and worked to enhance programs at historically black colleges in Louisiana.

His captivating speaking style, likened to James Earl Jones, resonated deeply, even inspiring Public Enemy’s iconic song “Fight the Power,” where his voice was prominently featured. Todd’s legacy lives on in his impassioned calls for action and unwavering commitment to justice. His speeches, delivered at historically black colleges nationwide, encouraged students to lead lives defined by courage, commitment, and compassion.

In conclusion, Thomas N. Todd’s journey was one of resilience, courage, and unwavering commitment to the principles of justice. Through powerful oration and bold advocacy, he fought to dismantle barriers to equality, promote minority-owned businesses, and advocate for fair employment practices. He passed away on February 18, 2024, leaving behind a profound and impactful legacy that continues to inspire a generation to stand up and fight for what is right, shaping our nation’s path forward.