Hon. Earl F. Hilliard was educated in the Birmingham, Alabama’s segregated public school system. In 1964 he earned a B.A. from Atlanta’s Morehouse College, where he met fellow student Martin Luther King Jr. In 1967, Hilliard received a law degree from Howard University in Washington D.C. He was admitted to the Alabama bar in 1968, taught at Birmingham’s Miles College from 1967 to 1968, and worked as assistant to the president of Montgomery’s Alabama State University from 1968 to 1970.