Longtime civil rights attorney Carl A. Earles celebrated his 90th birthday on June 24 at his home with a small group of friends and neighbors and congratulations from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Gov. Jerry Brown, Los Angeles County Second District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles City Council members Bernard Parks (8th District) and Jan Perry (9th District).
Born in Hemphill, Texas, in 1922, Earles received a bachelor of science degree from Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, in 1943 and immediately enlisted in the United States Army. He served with distinction in the European Theater with the Field Artillery Division and attended Chemical Warfare School.
Attorney Earles was honorably discharged at the end of World War II, and because it was generally known that African Americans were not admitted to state professional schools in the south, he relocated to Los Angeles where he studied law at the USC and Southwestern School of Law under the G.I. Bill.
Earles passed the California State Bar in 1951 and has continuously practiced law at the same location for more than 60 years.
He is a member of the National Bar Association (Hall of Fame in 1993), American Bar Association (life member), State Bar of California, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Langston Bar Association (former president and Hall of Fame in 1997), Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, Supreme Court of California and American Judicature Society.
He was also one of the first African Americans to serve as a delegate for the California State Bar Association.
Earles has also served as a trustee and general counsel of Hamilton United Methodist Church, the Los Angeles Wiley College Club (former president), and holds memberships in the NAACP (life member), the Spring Valley Lake Country Club, 28th Street YMCA Century Club, Crenshaw Neighbors and Hepburn Avenue Block Club.
He has been continuously active in Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. for more than 70 years and has served as the organization’s fifth Grand Counselor (national attorney) and president of two chapters in Los Angeles. He also served on the Wiley College Board of Trustees for more than 40 years in the positions of vice chairman, general counsel and chairman of the finance committee.
The veteran attorney has also been instrumental in guiding many students to attend Wiley College and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities.