GRANT, BENJAMIN Z. (~) Benjamin Z. Grant, state legislator and judge, graduated with honors from Panola College in Carthage, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. He later received a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Texas School of Law in January 1968. He was admitted to the State Bar of Texas on May 13 of that same year and is authorized to practice law in all Texas courts and various federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.
Throughout his working career, Judge Grant has had a variety of occupations that range from shining shoes and working at a brick plant, to serving as an adjunct faculty member at East Texas Baptist University. He also taught school for four years and was publisher and editor of a weekly newspaper. During law school, Grant worked for the General Land Office and Veterans Land Board, taught night school at Austin High School, and worked as an aide for Representative Cread L. Ray.
After Representative Ray decided not to seek reelection in 1970, Grant successfully ran in his place and represented District Three in the Texas House of Representatives from January 12, 1971 to January 8, 1981. During his first term, the Sixty-Second Legislature, Grant, became a member of the "Dirty Thirty," a group of representatives, "who grouped against . . . [several state] officials charged in a bribery-conspiracy investigation by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission." Grant also served six years as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
At the end of the Sixty-Sixth Legislature, Grant decided not to seek reelection - instead, he successfully campaigned for the judgeship of the Seventy-First Judicial District Court in Marshall. However, shortly after his reelection in 1984, Governor Mark White appointed him to the Sixth Court of Appeals in Texarkana, on August 13, 1985. Judge Grant took his oath of office on August 21, 1985, and served seventeen years on that court. After retiring in January 2003, Judge Grant assumed the status of senior judge.
Throughout his distinguished career as a state official, Judge Grant has served as president of the Northeast Texas Bar Association and the State Bar Judicial Section Executive Committee. He also served six years as president of the Texas Judicial Council, has spoken at numerous judicial and legal conferences, has conducted legal conferences, and is listed in Who's Who in American Politics. He has had legal articles published in the Texas Bar Journal and Trial Lawyers Forum.
Judge Grant has been an active participant in his community. He has served as vice-president of the Harrison County Historical Museum Board, was a member of the executive board for the Texas State Historical Association, and has written a weekly column, "The History around Us," for the Marshall News Messenger, since 1998. He has also served as president of the Marshall Lions Club and District Commissioner for the Boy Scouts of America.
Because of his extensive work in Marshall, Judge Grant has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. Common Cause of Texas recognized him for his uncommon talents and years of courageous public service. He was named one of the 100 outstanding leaders of Harrison County for the 20th Century, is listed on the Wall of Distinction of Harrison County, and received the Sallie McGee Lentz Award for Historical Publications.
In addition to his weekly column, Judge Grant has authored several books: The Last Dragon, a children's book; and two novels, The Wolf Has No Pillow and Troubles Walk North. He has also written or co-written numerous plays, such as, The Kingfish, a play on the life of the late Huey P. Long, which was co-authored with Larry L. King and has been performed in numerous cities including the New Playwright Theatre in Washington, D.C., and the John Houseman Theatre in New York City. The play is published by S.M.U. Press. His other plays are, Came The Cajuns; from Hardscrabble, a two-act play set in rural East Texas; Evangeline's Song; The Sage of the Sabine - the Strife and Times of Isaac Van Zandt; and Roarin', Rantin' Rabbie.
A resident of Marshall, Texas, Judge Grant has two children, Zane and Brea.
Information provided by Judge Ben Z. Grant; materials on file with the Texas State Cemetery Archives; The State Bar of Texas / Member Directory, "Benjamin Z. Grant," http://www.texasbar.com/(accessed August 22, 2005).; Panola College, "Grant to Address Panola Graduates," http://www.panola.edu/(accessed August 22, 2005); and Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "DIRTY THIRTY," http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/DD/wmdsh.html (accessed August 22, 2005).