“Unforgettable” – the legacy of Carl Maxey

Enter the Center for Civil and Human Rights at Gonzaga Law School and experience a bold and powerful tribute to Carl Maxey, civil rights leader, boxing champion, and Gonzaga law graduate. Aptly titled “Unforgettable,” the play depicts the life and lasting legacy of Maxey, whose passion for social justice continues to inspire students.

Over his career spanning more than 40 years, Maxey has earned a well-deserved reputation as an exceptional litigator. He was the first African-American lawyer in eastern Washington and a powerful advocate for the underserved. Despite a very successful private law practice, Maxey spent about 20% of his time on pro bono work and often took cases that other lawyers wouldn’t.

“Unforgettable” – Reinaldo Gil Zambrano

The Center for Civil and Human Rights selected “Unforgettable” after calling on the local artist community for submissions that commemorate Maxey and demonstrate a lasting and powerful imprint on social justice. In consultation with the Maxey family, the review committee selected the work of award-winning 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 tool for his illustration and reflection. His work extends to installations, murals and even large-scale engraving with a steamroller. Gil Zambrano holds an MFA from the University of Idaho and a BFA from the College of Idaho. Her work has been exhibited in local galleries throughout the Interior Northwest and in international venues.

When asked how he managed to capture Maxey’s powerful philosophy and rich personal history, Gil Zambrano replied, “The power of resilience inspired me greatly. Carl was a fighter from a young age, and he demonstrated this proactivity and willingness to challenge and change over the course of his life. I wanted to illustrate his resilience on a dynamic piece showing his first years as a student-athlete to become an advocate and spokesperson for the invisible in his community.

The artist also sought to illustrate the movement, depicting how dynamic Maxey was, with layers of historical facts and pivotal moments in his life.

“I value the space the Gonzaga School of Law gives to the arts, providing images that interpret the history and legacy growing within its walls,” says Gil Zambrano.

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

Interested in supporting the Carl Maxey Social Justice Scholarship? Make your gift here.

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