Celebrating Black History Month: Groundbreaking Attorneys

black history month text with red, black, green, and yellow graphic backgroundWe celebrate Black History Month every February. Below are some groundbreaking African American attorneys in U.S. History:

Macon Bolling Allen is believed to be the first African American to become a lawyer in 1844 and the first to argue before a jury. He was the second to hold a judicial position in the U.S.

Jane Bolin graduated from Yale Law School to become the first African American female judge in the U.S. at the age of 31.

Eunice Carter was one of New York’s first female African American lawyers. She was also the first to work as a prosecutor for New York County D.A. In 1932, Carter became the first African American woman to earn a law degree from Fordham University in New York.

Thurgood Marshall was the first African American to be appointed to the post of U.S Solicitor General and the first to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. As an attorney for the NAACP he fought for civil rights. He won 29 of the 32 civil rights cases he argued before the Supreme Court.

Constance Baker Motley played a pivotal role in ending racial segregation. Like Marshall, Motley was a lawyer for the NAACP. Motley led the way in making universities in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi accessible to African American students as well as parks and other schools. She was the first African American woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court and first to serve as a federal judge.

Charlotte E. Ray was the first black American female lawyer in the United States. She graduated in 1872 from Howard University School of Law. She was also the first woman admitted to the District of Columbia Bar and the first admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia.