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William Thorp was born in Rocky Mount, N.C., on February 2, 1925. He describes growing up during the Great Depression, including the experiences of his father as a practicing attorney during that time. Thorp served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He attended college at UNC and continued at UNC School of Law. After finishing law school, he became a litigator in Rocky Mount. Thorp discusses serving on the state advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, working as director of the N.C. Civil Liberties Union, starting his own practice in 1963, several of his important cases, and the unique challenges of being in private practice.

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