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Malcolm Farmer III and Susan L. Farmer Fund
By Jean Cohoon / March 18, 2015 /   Loading Disqus...
A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School and a partner at Hinckley Allen, Malcolm “Mac” Farmer III shares that he “was born into a wealthy East Side family…and clearly was a child of privilege.”

But there’s a different side of Mac that drives him. The year was 1964. “I was walking home from work (then a young associate at Hinckley Allen) and I came across a New York Herald Tribune with a picture of a young Black kid and over him was a highway patrolman with a billy club raised. I started thinking about it and basically decided there must be a way for people who had the advantages I had to help people like that,” Mac recalls.

Through the local CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) office, Mac joined the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee and spent the following summer in Monroe, LA, followed by two years in Jackson, MS. His work brought him into contact with civil rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr, and Stokely Carmichael, but it also resulted in him being beaten, having his tires slashed, being held in contempt (when court papers were “lost”), and having a shotgun held to his head for his efforts to defend Black people. “It was an unbelievable experience, 24 months of rapid growing up that changed everything for me,” he explains.

“The civil rights movement ended state-sanctioned racial discrimination and segregation, but it did not end institutional racism. Racism continues today,” Mac states.

Both he and his late wife, Susan, held active public lives. Susan, who died in September 2013, was the first woman elected to statewide office in Rhode Island, serving as Secretary of State from 1983 to 1987. She led Rhode Island PBS from 1987 to 2004 and earned numerous government appointments on topics including human rights, elections, and voter education.

Through this fund, Mac and Susan intend to support issues of equality, whether they pertain to race, gender, educational opportunities, immigrant rights, or other areas where discrimination occurs. “The real legacy is about this work continuing. I feel really good that the fund is being managed by the Foundation,” Mac concludes.
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