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William L. Sayers

W. L. Sayers

African American attorney.  Born: circa 1872. Died: March 26, 1956.

William L. Sayers was born around 1872 in Nebraska and moved with his family in 1888 to Hill City, Kansas. There at the age of 15 he earned a teaching certificate, however, he had to wait until he turned 16 to teach.

After teaching school for several years, he became clerk of the court for Graham County. Sayers used his spare time to read law books. In 1893 he was admitted to the bar and took classes at the University of Kansas.

Although he never graduated from law school, he was elected county attorney for Graham county in 1900, 1912, and 1914. His younger brother John followed him in this position in 1918.  He was the second African American to be elected Graham County Attorney; the first was G. W. Jones who was elected in 1896.

The Sayers brothers practiced law in Graham County for their entire careers. William, or Bill, was remembered not only as a very successful attorney, but as one who was always interested in lending a helping hand to those in need.

Entry: Sayers, William L.

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: May 2009

Date Modified: April 2013

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.