Attorney with Capital Region ties remembered for desegregation work

When we think of the civil rights movement, we often think of parts of the south. However, New York state had its own struggles.

A young attorney, Paul Zuber, helped desegregate schools in this state, and he had strong ties to the Capital Region.

Zuber – who passed away in 1987 – was the young attorney behind what’s known as the Lincoln School Decision.

It was years after Brown v. Board of Education – the landmark case which ruled racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.

Zuber represented Black students in New Rochelle, Westchester County. They were only allowed to attend Lincoln Elementary School – a building that was in disrepair with crowded classrooms and second-hand school supplies.

He fought for those students to attend other schools, and helped desegregate that school district. It ended with a win, and the school building came down.

His family soon moved to the Capital Region, where Zuber started working at RPI in Troy as the director of the Center for Urban Environmental Studies, and became an influential figure in the Black student community.

Meantime, his daughter, Patricia Zuber, says her life has been guided by her father. She now works for OASAS – the New York State Office of Addiction Services. She’s the associate commissioner for the Division of Prevention and Problem Gambling Services.

Learn about how she says she tries to live her father’s message – and the documentary that honors his work by watching the video of Subrina Dhammi’s story.