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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.

2015 WMBA Board of Directors


Carlton Davis


1st Vice President
Heather Thomas


2nd Vice President
Gary P. Lindsey, Jr.
Deputy City Attorney
Sacramento City Attorney’s Office


Yuri Hill


Adrian Carpenter


Financial Secretary
Maureen Onyeagbako
Deputy Attorney General
California Department of Justice


Keith Staten
Law Office of Keith J. Staten and Associates, APC


Catherine Ongiri
Deputy Attorney General
California Department of Justice


Audreyell Anderson
Deputy City Attorney
Sacramento City Attorney’s Office

Curtis Howard
Law Office of Curtis Howard Jr
3609 Bradshaw Road Ste. H #422
Sacramento, CA 95827
(925) 755-6119

Dustin Johnson
Experienced State and Federal Criminal Defense
Phone: 916-436-1647

Mike Laux
Laux Law Group
Civil rights/police-involved shootings

Keith Staten
916 443-5600
Criminal/ administrative law/DMV issues
Recipient of the Attorney of the Year Award Twice

Justin Ward
The Ward Firm
Personal Injury and Criminal Defense
Over 12 years of experience. Former Prosecutor
901 H Street, Suite 601
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 443-2474 office

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

The Colley Papers Exhibit

The Time is Now Documentary

Visit the Sacramento Observer for more news.

Sacramento Observer Website

Our Black Lawyer Quarterly Newsletter features information relevant to African American

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

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.


JULY 2015

WMBA Mixer
July 16, 2015
5:30pm - 8:00pm
Blue Prynt Bar
815 11th Street
Sacramento, Ca 95815

JUNE 2015

Know Your Rights Seminar
June 20, 2015
12:00pm - 3:00 pm
NAACP Sacramento Branch
3555 3rd Avenue
Sacramento,Ca 95817

General Body Meeting
June 11, 2015
12:00 pm
901 G Street

Sacramento Black Book Fair
June 5-7, 2015
View Book Fair Site

MAY 2015

Contracts for Success Event at Juvenile Hall
May 8, 2015

Scholarship Presentation For High School Essay Contest
May 7, 2015

MARCH 2015

Meet and Greet with the California Association of Black Attorneys for Legislative Day
March 22, 2015

Book Drive
March 19, 2015


Habitat for Humanity
February 28, 2015

Contracts for Success
February 27, 2015


Law Day
September 12, 2015

So You Want To Be A Judge at State Capitol
September 16, 2015
5:00pm - 7:00pm


LEGAL FUSION: A Celebration of Scholarship and Service at Firehouse Restaurant
October 15, 2015
Reception begins at 5:30 P.M.

*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
Shanae Buffington

Click To Email Us

Wiley W. Manuel Bar Association of Sacramento County
P.O. Box 188032
Sacramento, CA 95818
© 2015 The Wiley Manuel Bar Association of Sacramento County.  All rights reserved.
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