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Velveta Golightly-Howell

Inductee Name

Velveta Golightly-Howell

Date of Birth

1957

Year Inducted

2020

Category

Law & Enforcement

Sponsor

Friends of Velveta Golightly-Howell

Impact

Colorado

Velveta Golightly-Howell

An Alabama native, Velveta Golightly-Howell and her siblings were born to nurturing and loving parents, Lonnie and Marie (nee, Brown) Golightly. Raised in the home built by their paternal grandfather just blocks from the University of Alabama (UA), their parents imbued in them faith, hard work, integrity, strength, respect, service, and resilience. Although unable to complete formal education themselves, they instilled a love of learning in their children who all earned degrees.

Howell believes that God designs a “divine” plan for everyone. At age six, God revealed hers. Using the knowledge, talents, and opportunities granted, she would work relentlessly for equality, social justice, and access for all. After Alabama’s governor proclaimed “segregation forever,” and attempted to deny African Americans admission to the UA, funded by black Alabamians’ taxes, Velveta asked her father “why” bigotry and hatred existed. Assuring her of coming change, he said that she could play a role. So, when confronted with racial discrimination at age seven, she began fearlessly challenging it. Among the first students to integrate formerly all-white public schools, Velveta thrived, becoming the first in her family, and one of few African Americans admitted to the UA (undergraduate and law).

Attending college at The Tuskegee Institute, she graduated magna cum laude within three years. At the University of Colorado School of Law, she played leadership roles and earned coveted legal internships. One of only two African Americans in her class, Howell became the eighth black female, and fifty-seventh African American, earning a Juris Doctorate.

Mentored by legal legend Brooke Wunnicke, Howell served as Colorado’s first black female prosecutor and, afterwards, achieved “firsts” within the legal profession and the highest echelon of federal executive service. Her contributions at national, state, and local levels enhance others’ lives. She and husband Jon are proud parents of two sons.