“We average Americans simply do not talk enough with each other about things racial,” says Eric Holder, 82nd Attorney General of the United States. Eric Holder is the first African American to hold that office and ranks as the fourth-longest serving Attorney General in United States history. He is one of only three Cabinet members from President Obama’s original team, and the two Black men are truly friends and brothers.
Eric Holder will go down in American history as an Attorney General who fundamentally transformed the justice system, and fought racism and corruption at every turn. As a young man, Eric Holder loved the Department of Justice, and one of his heroes was Robert Kennedy. As an Attorney General, Robert Kennedy was always a force for that which was right, and Eric Holder’s inspiration and mission came from the civil rights era.
Eric Holder has always been a man of great courage, faith, and conviction. As a visionary, he believed that a young African American senator from Illinois would achieve greatness, and be the first in his race to become the president of the United States. He has worked tirelessly in President Obama’s first campaign, when American’s thought there was no way an African American could win the election.
“I want to thank you Mr. President for the opportunity you gave me to serve and for giving me the greatest honor of my professional life. We have been great colleagues, but the bonds between us are much deeper than that. In good times and bad, in things personal and professional, you have been there for me. I am proud to call you my friend. I am also grateful for the support you have given me and the department, as we have made real the visions that you and I have always shared,” says Eric Holder at his retiring speech at the White House.
Mr. Holder has spent 26 years working at the Justice Department in almost every level at the Department. He has been groomed for his present position by joining the Department out of Columbia Law School in 1976, and continued to move up the ladder with different presidents. He served as Deputy Attorney General under Attorney General Reno, and acting Attorney General under President Bush.
In the six years that Eric Holder has been the Attorney General his accomplishments have been many. He has fought fiercely to protect the human and civil rights of all Americans, with particular emphasis on ensuring that all Americans can exercise their right to vote. He has used the federal arm of the Department of Justice to fight against the Supreme Court, Tea Party, and the Congressional Republicans.
He was the first Attorney General in American history to be held in Contempt of Congress, and the Republican Party tried to force him out of his office. He was cleared of all charges in September 2012 by the United States Department of Justice.
During the Attorney General’s tenure in the area of financial fraud the DOJ has won billion dollars cases, and imposed new curbs on racial profiling. He has also created a milestone moment by decreasing the federal prison population for the first time since 1982. Under Holder’s leadership the DOJ has been an advocate for justice and has been involved with lawsuits in different states where defendants are not being provided with adequate counsel.
Finally, Attorney General Holder will be missed by the African American community, because he understood what it meant to be Black in America. He has always been President Obama’s alter ego, and many times he told the truth about racism, where the president was quiet. Many times Holder was the tough cop, and white America could not understand him, because he told the truth, and fought for Black people.
Roger Caldwell, a community activist, author, journalist, radio host and CEO of On Point Media Group, lives in Orlando. His book, The Inspiring Journey of a Stroke Survivor, details the story of his recovery from a massive stroke. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.