Rufus William McKinney


Rufus William McKinney



Rufus William McKinney was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas. He was one of twelve children born to his parents, a minister and a homemaker. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School, he left Jonesboro to attend Arkansas AM&N College (University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff), where he earned his B.S. in business administration in 1953. Jones then enrolled at the Indiana University School of Law and received his J.D. in 1956. While in law school, he became the first African-American to serve on the journal’s editorial board, as a note editor.

After graduation, McKinney spent 13 years working with the Solicitor’s Office of the United States Department of Labor. In 1966, he began working for Southern California Gas Company, where he would rise to Vice President of Governmental Affairs. In 1979, he was part of small group of African-Americans associated with energy companies that formed the American Association of Blacks in Energy. The Association is devoted to ensuring that minority voices are heard when energy policy is deliberated. He served on its board for more than 20 years.

McKinney retired from Southern California Gas Company in 1992, but worked as an independent consultant for many years. In 1998, he was appointed to the Maryland Commission of Human Relations, which administers and enforces the state’s anti-discrimination statute. Rufus W. McKinney was inducted into the Indiana University School of Law Academy of Law Alumni Fellows in 2002. In 2004, his autobiography, Beating the Odds: The Story of One Black Man’s Life in Twentieth Century America was published.


Maurer Alumni, Southern California Gas Company, Academy of Law Alumni Fellows


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Law | Legal Biography | Legal Profession | Oil, Gas, and Mineral Law



To learn more about Rufus W. McKinney, at the following sites:

See also, Beating the Odds: The Story of One Black Man's Life in Twentieth Century America, by Rufus W. McKinney. New York: Vantage Press, 2004 (0533149053). Available in the Jerome Hall Law Library, KF 299 .A35 M34 2004

Rufus William McKinney