There is a Fountain. The Autobiography of a Civil Rights Lawyer. (Signed)

“A Lawyer for the Damned” — Amsterdam News

First edition. The autobiography of Conrad J. Lynn (1908–1995), the controversial civil rights activist and attorney.

Missed by Brignano, the author’s inscription may explain why: “To Oliver Franklin. You are the owner of a rare edition. I was prosecuted in the Courts for this edition. Best! Conrad Lynn”. Oliver St. Clair Franklin, OBE, was the the third Honorary British Consul for Greater Philadelphia.

In 1932, Lynn became the first Black American to graduate from the Syracuse University of Law. In 1947, Lynn joined the “Journey of Reconciliation” —a publicized journey by bus taken by activists into the South to expose Jim Crow racism and a predecessor of the “Freedom Rides” in the early 1960s.

Mr. Lynn’s obituary in The New York Times highlights the nature of his decades-long legal career, a career that spanned into his late eighties:

“In the early 1940s, Mr. Lynn defended his brother Winfred, who had refused to be drafted into the United States Army in protest of its segregationist policies. He took the case despite the concerns of mainstream civil rights groups like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which felt that blacks would profit more by supporting the war effort.”

“Mr. Lynn also had a longstanding association with the Puerto Rican independentistas who wanted their island to be free of United States rule. In the early 1950s, Mr. Lynn was the lawyer for one of the five Puerto Rican nationalists charged with shooting at members of Congress while they were in session. They were convicted. In what became known as the ‘Kissing Case’, Mr. Lynn represented two young black boys from North Carolina, age 7 and 9, who were charged with rape because they had kissed a young white girl while they were playing house. The boys, who were held for months without bail, were eventually released after supporters, including Eleanor Roosevelt, led an international campaign on their behalf.”

“In the 1960s, Mr. Lynn defended many draft resisters who refused to fight in Vietnam. Mr. Lynn also defended many black activists of that era, including H. Rap Brown, a member of the Black Panther Party. While defending many unpopular cases, Mr. Lynn sought to make blacks an integral part of the judicial system.”

Flynn’s autobiography reveals a remarkable roster of friends and notables: Adam Clayton Powell, A. Philip Randolph, Paul Robeson, Thurgood Marshall, Sidney Poitier, Bayard Rustin, Emmett Till, Carl Braden, William Worthy, Julius Lester, LeRoi Jones, Eldridge Cleaver, Rap Brown, Felix Greene, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Description: There is a Fountain. The Autobiography of a Civil Rights Lawyer. (Signed)

Westport, Connecticut: Lawrence Hill & Company, (1979). Small octavo. 240pp. Hardcover. Near fine in a very good, price-clipped dust jacket.


Blockson Catalogue 4609.

Price: $650.00