MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Demetrius Newton, a civil rights attorney who represented icons like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. before becoming the first black person to serve as speaker pro tem of the Alabama House, has died. He was 85.

Rep. John Rogers of Birmingham, a longtime friend of Newton, says he was notified by the lawmaker’s family that Newton died Wednesday morning.

Newton was former city attorney for Birmingham and had served in the Legislature since 1986. In the Legislature, he was an outspoken critic of Alabama’s 1901 Constitution, which he described as too long and out-of date.

 


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.