The Rev. Milton Henry, 87; Civil Rights Lawyer and Black Separatist

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The Rev. Milton Henry, 87, a civil rights lawyer and black separatist who sought to create a provisional government of former slave states, died Saturday of natural causes at his home in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Henry was a pallbearer at the 1965 funeral of Malcolm X and was the first vice president of the Republic of New Afrika, which sought $200 million in reparations from the federal government for the nation’s history of slavery.

In the late 1960s, Henry and others tried to create a black separatist country in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana and Mississippi.


Walter Moore, the former mayor of Pontiac, Mich., said he spent nights on Henry’s lawn to protect him from death threats during the turbulent 1960s. Henry criticized the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call for nonviolence.

Henry, who was from Philadelphia, graduated from historically black Lincoln University in 1947 and earned a law degree from Yale University in 1950. He was a Pontiac commissioner from 1954 to 1960 and was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II with the late Coleman Young, Detroit’s first black mayor.