First African-American Supreme Court Justice of Minnesota; Former Professional Football Player
Justice Alan C. Page is Minnesota’s first African-American Supreme Court Justice. An ardent defender of equal education for all children, he has established a foundation to motivate and assist young men and women of color to pursue education beyond high school, and has also co-sponsored a national essay-writing contest to promote literacy. Known for his staunch defense as a member of the famed “Purple People Eaters,” the Minnesota Vikings’ fierce defensive unit of the 1970s, he has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Page’s law career actually began during his NFL-playing days when he had the foresight to attend law school at the University of Minnesota at the height of his football career, so that he could be prepared for life after football. When he retired from the game in 1981, he went to work for a Minnesota law firm before being appointed a special assistant attorney general in Minnesota. In 1987, he became an assistant attorney general, and in 1993, he became an associate justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court.
In addition to lecturing on a wide range of legal and judicial issues, Page is a compelling speaker on creating educational opportunities and mentoring for underprivileged children.
The recipient of numerous athletic and humanitarian awards, Page likes to think of football as a past chapter in his life. “If I could choose a way to be remembered, it wouldn’t be my association with football,” says Page. “Football is the past – a good past, but I’d want to be remembered with children – my children and other children.”
Beginning with ten Page Grants awarded in its first year, the Page Education Foundation now awards nearly 600 Page Grants annually. In addition to helping provide college tuition, the foundation requires each of its Page Scholars to spend a minimum of 50 hours per school year tutoring and mentoring younger students in the area of education. In total, the foundation has awarded more than $5 million in scholarships to more than 2,600 students.
Page earned a BA degree in political science from the University of Notre Dame, and a JD degree from the University of Minnesota. He has also received eight honorary degrees.
A book about his life, All Rise: The Remarkable Journey of Alan Page, was released in 2010 and includes a foreword by former President Bill Clinton.
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