David Sloan, 73, attorney advised local politicians

July 12, 1996|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

David E. Sloan had a grand speaking manner, a penchant for minute details and an ever ready ear to hear others out.

And, like the preacher, attorney and writer that he was, Mr. Sloan always had something interesting to say.

"He was a very well-spoken and a very articulate man," said Frank Conaway, a former state delegate and longtime friend. "He was the kind of man who, after you talked to him, you immediately felt good and liked him."

Mr. Sloan, 73, who died Sunday of heart failure at his Howard Park home in West Baltimore, was probably best known for the quiet advice he offered local politicians and business leaders.

"He felt that all responsible people should somehow be involved in politics," said retired District Judge William H. Murphy Sr., who knew Mr. Sloan for more than 35 years.

"He was under the philosophy that if you're going to complain about something, you have to do something about it in a responsible way."

Mr. Sloan's only venture into elective politics was an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the House of Delegates in the 1980s.

A native of Baltimore, Mr. Sloan graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1940, Morgan State College (now University) in 1944, the Howard University School of Law in 1950, the Howard University School of Religion in 1951, and the journalism school at Temple University in Philadelphia in 1952.

For the last 30 years, Mr. Sloan worked as an attorney in private practice. During that time, he also worked as an editor at the Afro-American newspaper, and as a pastor and guest lecturer at numerous area churches.

"But he really wanted to be a theatrical writer. That was his first love," said state Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., pastor of Rising Sun First Baptist Church in Woodlawn.

As a lawyer, friends said Mr. Sloan was able to quickly dissect issues and take action.

"His mind was his major asset," Mr. Burns said. "He understood )) the long and the short of law."

About 10 years ago, Mr. Burns and Mr. Sloan were the lead protester and defense attorney, respectively, at the trial of three black men accused of raping a white woman in Cecil County.

They stirred a lot of media interest in the case and created public doubt. That was one of the strategies, Mr. Burns said, because Mr. Sloan knew "that judges don't rule in a vacuum."

The men were acquitted of all charges.

Mr. Sloan also was a frequent correspondent to the letters-to-the-editor page of this newspaper. He wrote on an assortment of topics, including race relations, education, politics and well-known local residents.

His last letter, which ran last July 29, praised Baltimore educator Samuel L. Banks, who died in 1994.

Mr. Sloan enjoyed playing the piano and doing impersonations.

For instance, friends said he did a great impersonation of Fats Waller -- complete with expressions and keyboard genius.

"He enjoyed entertaining himself if he had nothing else to do at the piano," said John Bryant, a longtime friend. "He was just a great human being."

Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. today at Douglas Memorial Community Church, 1325 Madison Ave.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a brother, Harry F. Sloan of Philadelphia; and a granddaughter, Nicole T. Rogers of Baltimore.

Pub Date: 7/12/96

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