George Long, the first black graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law, died in March 2010 in California. He was a member of the Class of 1952. He had suffered from Parkinson’s disease.
Long had been thinking about enrolling in a teacher’s college after his tour of duty ended in World War II. He was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army when he met Ernie Pyle on Okinawa shortly before Pyle was killed. Upon Pyle’s recommendation, he enrolled at the University of New Mexico.
After studying political science and geology, he turned his attention to law school and enrolled during his senior year, combining his last year of undergraduate studies with his first year of law school.
Upon earning his law degree, Long headed to Oakland, CA, to investigate welfare fraud for the State of California. In 1974, he went into private practice, where he focused on real property issues, trusts and probate. He continued to practice law well into his 70s.
Although he left New Mexico, he never forgot it.
“I got a good legal education there,” he says.