Morris B. Abram
Founding Chairman, UN Watch
1918-2000

Morris B. Abram was a legendary civil rights attorney who worked closely with Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. He won the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case granting equality to the votes of African-Americans. The epitaph on his gravestone reads: “He established ‘one man, one vote’ as a principle of American law.”

Ambassador Abram became the founding Chairman of UN Watch immediately following his term, 1989-1993, as US Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva.

Ambassador Abram served five American Presidents — John F. Kennedy, as General Counsel of the Peace Corps and as U.S. Representative to the UN Subcommission for the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities; Lyndon B. Johnson, as US Representative to the UN Commission on Human Rights and as Co-Chairman of the Planning Session of the 1965 White House Conference on Civil Rights; Jimmy Carter, as Chairman of the President’s Commission for the Study of the Ethical Problems of Medicine; Ronald Reagan, as Vice-Chairman of the US Commission on Civil Rights; and George Bush, as US Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva.

A native of Georgia, Ambassador Abram was educated at the University of Georgia, the Law School of the University of Chicago, and as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.

As a young lawyer, he served on the staff of Justice Jackson at the Nuremberg Trials. Returning to Atlanta he practiced law and after a 14 year legal battle prevailed in establishing the “one man; one vote” principle of American Constitutional Law.

Throughout his life he was active in Education, Civil Rights and International Human Rights, and served as the Chairman of the United Negro College Fund, President of Brandeis University, and on the Boards of Sarah Lawrence and Morehouse Colleges and the Institute of International Education.

He was involved in community affairs as President of the American Jewish Committee (1963-1968); Chairman of the National Conference of Soviet Jewry (1983-1988); and Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (1986-1989).

Honorary degrees were bestowed upon him by Davidson College, Emory University, Yeshiva University and Hebrew Union College.

UN Watch founder Morris B. Abram, Co-Chairman of the White House Conference on Civil Rights, with fellow civil rights leaders. (Left to Right) Abram; Rev. Martin Luther King; A. Philip Randolph; John Lewis, head of the Students for Non-Violent Action; and William T. Coleman, another Co-Chairman. They gathered above at the start of the conference. Washington, DC, November 17, 1965.

 


Kofi Annan’s address at the Tribute to Ambassador Morris B. Abram, New York, 12 December 1999: English I French

 

Speeches by Morris Abram