SAN FRANCISCO — Legal recruiter and diversity advocate Martha Fay Africa died on Wednesday of breast cancer that spread to the bones. She was 71.
Africa—known to her friends as "Marty"—joined legal search firm Major, Lindsey and Africa while it was in its infancy, and worked there until her death. She advocated extensively for the diversification of the legal profession and founded the American Bar Association's Women Rainmakers.
Africa had "a kickass-type personality, in a graceful way," said Drucilla Ramey, a former executive director of BASF and dean emerita at Golden Gate University School of Law who teamed up with Africa to start a minority scholarship program for the northern California law schools in the late 1990s.
Africa was born in Newton, Massachusetts to a family of modest means, and from childhood fed her insatiable curiosity with endless reading. She attended Chatham College in Pittsburgh, Penn., on a full scholarship and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was a leader in the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory Health Sciences team.
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