Dallas School Renamed for Hon. Louis A. Bedford Jr. ’50


The Dallas Independent School District (ISD) has renamed a middle school to commemorate Hon. Louis A. Bedford Jr. ’50, the first Black judge to serve in Dallas County. Judge Bedford died in April 2014.

At a Nov. 12 event attended by the late judge’s family, the school previously known as the William Hawley Atwell Law Academy was officially renamed the Judge Louis A. Bedford Jr. Law Academy.

The event included two of his children, Angela Bedford Walker and Louis A. Bedford III, as well as school officials, staff, students, and community members, according to the school district’s website.

In remarks at the event, Louis A. Bedford III said his father “graduated from Brooklyn Law School and returned to Dallas because of his loyalty and dedication to his family, and to try and make a difference to the legal system of Texas.”

Bedford was known for legal community involvement. His son said his father was popularly known as “the godfather” because he believed it was important to pass on his knowledge to other Black lawyers in Dallas. Bedford also helped organize voting rights campaigns at New Hope Baptist Church and met with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to raise voting rights awareness, his son added. 

According to District 6 Trustee Joyce Foreman, Bedford worked with former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 1954 on Dallas’s first desegregation case. In 1978, he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the commission for nominating federal circuit court judges for the fifth circuit. He also founded the J.L. Turner Legal Association, a bar association for Black attorneys in Dallas.