Lawyer Robert Bennett was born April 14, 1947, in Columbus, near Fort Benning, Georgia. Raised primarily by his mother, Annie Mae Bennett, Robert attended Claflin School in Columbus; the Harriet Beecher Stowe School in Cincinnati; and graduated from Chicago's Parker High School in 1965. Beginning in high school, Robert spent his summers working on the Santa Fe Super Chief passenger train from Chicago to Los Angeles. At Dartmouth College, Robert was one of the founders of the Afro American Society and spent two years in discussions on how to build United States support for the African National Congress (ANC). He graduated with his B.A. degree in Political Science in 1969, and his law degree from Yale Law School in 1972.
From 1975 to 1978 Robert was an associate attorney with Winston and Strawn and later Rudnick and Wolfe. From 1978 on he operated his own law firm in which he handled corporate and commercial transactions and real estate development. Robert regularly hosted ANC leaders in his Chicago home, including Alfred Nzo and Graca Machel, and volunteered his legal services in support of various pro ANC groups throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Robert hosted Nelson Mandela's fundraising visit to Chicago in 1993, and raised $87,000 to support his campaign for the presidency of the new South Africa. He hosted a tour of selected U. S. cities for then President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, and became Honorary Consul of Ghana from 1996 to 2002. He also worked with the Nation of Islam and Minister Louis Farrakhan for many years.
Founder of Bennett and Bailey International Consulting, Robert was a consultant in the late 1990s on the King Shaka International Airport Project in Durban, South Africa, and on the West African Gas Pipeline. Bennett was a consultant for the movie, Ali, some of which was shot in Ghana. Bennett later became engaged in a long-term consultancy and exchange with the Ghanaian justice system. He continued to work on consultancy and entrepreneurial projects.
Robert married Maisha Hamilton Bennett and they had three children, daughter Kinshasa, son Karega, and son Ayinde. He later married Tammy Strickland Bennett. Family was everything to Robert and he ended his communications with, "Love, Always."
Robert was preceded in death by his grandparents, Will and Della Bennett.
Robert is survived by his mother Annie Hardy; brothers Calvin Thompson and Steve Thompson; sister Gwen Thompson; children Kinshasa, Karega, and Ayinde; and grandchildren Benjamin Bennett and Malik Bennett.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am on May 25, 2023 at the West End Seventh Day Adventist, 845 Lawton Street, Atlanta, Georgia. The services will be livestream at www.westendsdachurch.org.
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