ethel’s words

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D.H. OLIVER--A Black History Personality

Buoyantly friendly--in fact, almost flamboyant--D.H. Oliver was conspicuous, not only as the only Black (in those days, “Negro”) attorney in Salt Lake City for a long, long time, but for that cheerful charm.

A few years ago, in a law school publication article, he disappeared under the name “David Oliver”. I never heard him called that; even in court he was addressed as “DH”, not “Mr. Oliver”. Of course, I have no idea whether that was true all the time.

I suspect there was great tension in his life. All the prestige in the Black community was counter-balanced by the superficial courtesy of the legal professionals.

I did not ever know DH except as a public figure. I know he had a son; beyond that I did not even know anything about his family, nor even his church.

It is easy to say, “Well, good for him--an accomplishment to be a lawyer”: but thinking beyond that, I imagine what he had to endure through the years in law school. I don’t know where he attended law school. If he has not been memorialized beyond mention in histories, he should be.

Ethel C. Hale