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Friday, December 19, 2014


The Wiley Manuel Bar Association of Sacramento County, formerly known as the Sacramento Association of Black Attorneys, (SABA), was founded in the fall of 1977, through the initial efforts of four attorneys in the Sacramento area, David Seals, Milton Armistead, Nathaniel Colley and Joseph Russell. These four attorneys saw a need for a bar association which would address the concerns of the Black community as well as the Black lawyers in the Sacramento area and along with thirteen others, held the first meeting of SABA. The seventeen individuals in attendance were: David Seals (President), Milton Armistead (Vice President), Harold Machen (Parliamentarian), Otis Benning, Clarence Brown, Timothy Chandler, Nathaniel Colley, Randolph Cooke, Joseph Cooper, Amos Freeman, L’Archie Harris, James Long, Gary Ransom, Vance Raye, Joseph Russell, Renard Shepard, and Herman Smith.

The stated purpose of the organization was “to provide an organized bar affiliation to represent the professional interests of the legal community in Sacramento, with special emphasis on Black attorneys; to promote the administration of justice; and to make use of legal tools and Legal discipline for the advancement of the economic, political, educational, and social interest of Sacramento, especially the Black community.”

In 1981, after the untimely death that year of Justice Wiley William Manuel, the first African American appointed to the California Supreme Court, the SABA changed its name to the Wiley Manuel Law Society. Justice Manuel was a distinguished leader in the legal field in the never-ending battle for equality and justice for all people, regardless of race, creed or national origin. It was this leadership that prompted the association to change its name in his honor. The next year, the Society affiliated with the State Bar of California and became the Wiley W. Manuel Bar Association of Sacramento County. In 1984, Wiley Manual Bar Association (WMBA) became affiliated with the Sacramento County Bar Association. It also maintains affiliate status with the National Bar Association and was founding affiliate association to the California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL), which was also established in 1977, WMBA and its members continue to be a vital part of the Sacramento legal community.

Wiley William Manuel was the first African-American to be appointed as a justice to the California Supreme Court.

Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. appointed Wiley Manuel to the California Supreme Court on February 12, 1977. On November 7, 1978, Justice Manuel was elected to a twelve-year term on the California Supreme Court.

Justice Manuel received his Bachelor of Law degree from Hastings College of Law in 1953. Prior to his appointment to the California Supreme Court, he enjoyed a 23-year career with the California Department of Justice as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief Assistant Attorney General in the San Francisco office.

Justice Manuel’s twelve-year term would have expired in 1990. However, on January 5, 1981, he succumbed to a strenuous battle with cancer.

Justice Manuel’s legal career and his personal life were marked by dedication to hard work, public service and concept of equal justice for all segments of society.

In addition to the Wiley W. Manuel Bar Association of Sacramento County, there is also a non-profit scholarship foundation in Northern California, and an Oakland courthouse named in his honor.

WMBA Board Members Installation

2014 WMBA Board of Directors being sworn in by Judge Bunmi Awonyi of the Superior Court of California
Pictured left to right: Keith J. Staten, Maureen Onyeagbako, Catherine Ongiri, Heather Thomas, Audreyell Anderson, Carmen-Nicole Cox, Gary P. Lindsey, Jr., Carlton Davis, and Shanae Buffington

2014 WMBA Board of Directors

Shanae Buffington
Employment Development Department
(916) 657-5193

1st Vice President
Carlton Davis
Deputy District Attorney
Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office

2nd Vice President
Heather Thomas
Law Office of Keith J. Staten and Associates, APC

Carmen Nicole Cox
Associate Attorney
Downey Brand LLP

Gary P. Lindsey, Jr.
Deputy City Attorney
Sacramento City Attorney’s Office

Financial Secretary
Audreyell Anderson
Deputy City Attorney
Sacramento City Attorney’s Office

Keith Staten

Law Office of Keith J. Staten and Associates, APC

Catherine Ongiri
Deputy Attorney General
California Department of Justice

Maureen Onyeagbako
Deputy Attorney General
California Department of Justice

We honor the legacy of renowned Sacramento civil rights lawyer, Nathaniel Colley.

The Colley Papers Exhibit

The Time is Now Documentary

Our BLack Lawyer Quarterly Newsletter features information relevant to African American

Black Lawyer Quarterly
Winter 2008 Edition

Tribute to Noble Vision
Sacramento Lawyer Article on The Wiley Manual Bar Association

Black Lawyer Quarterly
Summer 2008 Edition

Dr. Clarence B. Jones

In a distinguished and heralded career, Dr. Clarence B. Jones served as political advisor, counsel and draft speechwriter for the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Through his work in the civil rights movement, Dr. Jones dramatically impacted the course of American history. He coordinated the legal defense of Dr. King and the other leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference against the libel suits filed against them and The New York Times by the police commissioner and other city officials of Birmingham, Alabama. The Supreme Court ruling in this case – Sullivan vs. The New York Times – resulted in the landmark decision on the current law of libel. In April 1963, Dr. Jones drafted the settlement agreement between the City of Birmingham and Dr. King to bring about the end of demonstrations and the desegregation of department stores and public accommodations. Dr. Jones also assisted Dr. King in drafting the celebrated “I Have A Dream” speech that Dr. King delivered at the March On Washington on August 28, 1963.



January 16th - 18th
Western Region BLSA Convention, Sacramento Hilton

January 21st
33rd Annual Capitol March for the Dream

January 27th
Board of Directors Installation Ceremony and Reception, 5:30 - 7:30 pm at the State Capitol


February 19th
General Body Meeting, 12:00 - 1:00 pm at the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office, 901 G Street

February 27th
Literacy Liberates Book Drive for Juvenile Hall, 5:30 - 8:30 pm at Underground Books, 2814 35th Street

MARCH 2014

March 7th
Contracts for Success, 3:00 pm at Sacramento Charter High School, Mel Lawson Theater, 2315 34th Street

APRIL 2014

April 16th
General Body Meeting, 12:00 - 1:00 pm at the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office, 901 G Street

April 16th
District Attorney Candidate Forum, 6:00 – 8:30 pm, McGeorge School of Law, Lecture Hall, 3200 Fifth Avenue

April 25th
Contracts for Success, 11:00 am at Luther Burbank High School, 3500 Florin Road

April 30th
WMBA & ABAS Social Mixer, 5:30 pm at Riverside Clubhouse (2633 Riverside Blvd.)

MAY 2014

May 9th
Contracts for Success, 10:30 am at Capitol Academy, 3063 Gold Canal Dr., Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

May 31st
Annual Law Day Mixer, 1:00 – 3:30 pm

JUNE 2014

June 18th
Alternative Dispute Resolution Presentation by Daniel Yamshon, 12:00 – 1:00 pm at the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office, 901 G Street

JULY 2014

July 10th
WMBA & SacLEGAL Social Mixer, 6:00 pm at The Depot (2001 K Street)


August 20th
General Body Meeting, 12:00 - 1:00 pm at the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office, 901 G Street

August 21st
Legal Fusion, 5:30 pm at the Firehouse Restaurant, 1112 2nd Street. Tickets $40 per person.


October 9th
Unity Bar Dinner and Gala, 5:00-8:00pm at the Doubletree Hotel Sacramento, 2001 Point West Way


November 13th
Judicial Perspectives from the Bench: The Path to A Judicial Career, 12:00 – 1:00 pm at Weintraub Tobin, 400 Capitol Mall, 11th Floor


December 17th
General Body Meeting

December 17th
General Body Meeting and Holiday Party, 5:30 – 8:00 pm at Weintraub Tobin, 400 Capitol Mall, 11th Floor

*served two terms
David Seals
Milton Armistead
Ramona Armistead
Honorable Gary Ransom
Samuel Jackson
David Brown
Joseph Russell
Windie O. Scott
Jessie Morris
Doreathea Johnson
Honorable Renard Shepard
Barbara Yonemura
Thelma Bailey
Mark Harris
Ben Johnson
Carol Widemon
Greg Finch
Warren Quann*
Aleshia (Poole) White
Clarence Brown* (dec.)
G. Cat Stokes
Mark Ambrose
Honorable Bunmi Awoniyi
Keith Staten*
Renee C.T. Carter*
Dana L. Flanagan-McBeth
Jean-Pierre Francillette*
Dale McKinney
Fredericka McGee
Dianne Dobbs
Alana Mathews
June R. Powells-Mays

Wiley W. Manuel Bar Association of Sacramento County
P.O. Box 188032
Sacramento, CA 95818

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