Congressman Cohen Celebrates the Renaming of Memphis Federal Building for Judge Odell Horton

December 21, 2021
Press Release
Removes the name of late Congressman Clifford Davis

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today celebrated President Biden’s signing into law his bill naming the Memphis federal building exclusively for the late U.S. District Judge Odell Horton. The action removes the name of the former Klansman and Congressman Clifford Davis from the downtown federal office building and courthouse.

See the White House announcement here.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“My first bill in Congress in 2007 added Judge Horton’s name to the Memphis federal building. At the time, there was insufficient support for removing Clifford Davis’ name. Now that the political will is there, the courthouse where Odell Horton served as a judge will be named exclusively in his honor. It is time to remove the name of a segregationist and Klansman from this place of honor and fully recognize Judge Horton’s life of public service and contributions to Memphis. This is a victory for justice, a milestone in our city’s history and a sign that Memphis is embracing the legacy of a great man.”

Odell Horton (1929-2006) was the first Black federal judge in the Western District of Tennessee appointed since Reconstruction. He also served as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, an Assistant U.S. Attorney, the first African American member of Memphis Mayor Henry Loeb’s city administration as the head of health and hospitals, and the president of LeMoyne-Owen College.

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