“Unforgettable” – the legacy of Carl Maxey

Enter the Center for Civil and Human Rights at Gonzaga’s School of Law and see a bold and powerful tribute to Carl Maxey, civil rights activist, boxing champion and Gonzaga Law graduate. Aptly titled “Unforgettable,” the play chronicles the life and enduring legacy of Maxey, whose passion for social justice continues to inspire students.

During his more than 40-year career, Maxey earned a well-deserved reputation as an exceptional litigator. He was the first African American attorney in east Washington and a powerful advocate for the underserved. Despite a highly successful private law practice, Maxey devoted about 20 percent of his time to volunteer work, often taking on cases that other attorneys would not take on.

“Unforgettable” – Reinaldo Gil Zambrano

The Center for Civil and Human Rights selected “Unforgettable” after launching a call to the local artistic community for submissions that commemorate Maxey and demonstrate an enduring and powerful impact on social justice. In consultation with the Maxey family, the review committee selected the work of award-winning graphic artist and assistant professor Reinaldo Gil Zambrano, who came to Gonzaga in 2020.

Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Gil Zambrano uses relief printing as a storytelling medium for his illustration and reflection. His work extends to installations, murals and even large format prints featuring a steamroller. Gil Zambrano has an MFA from the University of Idaho and a BFA from the College of Idaho. His work has been exhibited in local galleries in the north west of the country and at international locations.

When asked how he managed to capture Maxey’s powerful ethos and rich personal history, Gil Zambrano replied, “I was greatly inspired by the power of resilience. Carl was a fighter from a young age, and he showed this proactivity and willingness to take on challenges and change throughout his life. I wanted to showcase his resilience in a dynamic piece that showcases his early years as a student athlete to become an advocate and a voice for the unseen in his community.”

The artist also tried to illustrate movement, using layers of historical facts and defining moments in his life to show how dynamic Maxey was.

“I appreciate the space that the Gonzaga School of Law dedicates to the arts in delivering images that interpret the history and legacy growing within its walls,” says Gil Zambrano.

The Law School’s Carl Maxey Social Justice Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to students from historically underserved communities. Last year, three first-year law students became the first grant recipients of this program, which supports their commitment to social justice.

Would you like to support the Carl Maxey Social Justice Scholarship? Make your gift here.

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