|HUD No. 00-321|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Friday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||November 3, 2000|
STATEMENT BY HUD SECRETARY ANDREW CUOMO ON THE OCTOBER 31 DEATH OF FORMER HUD SECRETARY SAMUEL R. PIERCE, JR.
WASHINGTON - "HUD mourns the passing of a former colleague, Secretary Samuel R. Pierce Jr., who served as the Departmentís Secretary from 1981 to 1989. Mr. Pierce was a dedicated public servant who leaves a lengthy legacy. A former judge, he was the first African-American partner in a major New York law firm, the first African-American member of the board of a Fortune 500 company, and the only African American cabinet secretary in the Reagan administration. In the 1960ís, along with other prominent Americans like Jackie Robinson, he helped found Freedom National Bank, the first black-owned and operated bank in New York State. It was one of the first American financial institutions created to serve African-American communities, which were historically underserved by major banks. In 1964, as one of the nation's most prominent African-American attorneys, he helped safeguard freedom of speech and of the press by successfully representing Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a landmark Supreme Court case, Sullivan vs. the New York Times. The entire HUD family extends our thoughts and prayers to his family -- his wife Barbara Penn Wright and daughter Victoria -- and friends on this sad occasion."