Former U.S President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have expressed sadness over the death of his mentor, Charles Ogletree.
In a statement issued and posted on his official Instagram page, Obama described the deceased as not only a Harvard Law professor but as a friend.
Charles Ogletree died at 70 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease since 2016.
Obama reminisced about how Ogletree “took time on weekends to run something called ‘Saturday School’ for Black students who didn’t necessarily have the support systems at home to get them through the difficult first years of law school.”
Saturday School soon “became so popular that students of every background began showing up to hear Charles explain things in a way they could understand,” the former president said.
“It was an example of the kind of person Charles has always been: unfailingly helpful, and driven by a genuine concern for others.”
“Michelle and I are heartbroken to hear about the passing of our friend Charles Ogletree. He was an advocate for social justice, an incredible professor, and a mentor to many – including us. Our thoughts are with his wife Pamela, his entire family, and everyone who knew and loved this remarkable man” he added.
Prior to his death, Ogletree advocated for various civil rights. He is remembered for his tenacious battles to get restitution for survivors of the Tulsa race riots of 1921 and descendants of enslaved people.
He was a well-known Washington public defender who represented high-profile clients such as Mafia boss John Gotti, Tupac Shakur, and Anita Hill, who accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.