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Peter Wallenstein

lawyer, was born Lavinia Marian Fleming in Warwick County, Virginia, the daughter of Archer R. Fleming, a blacksmith and former slave, and Florence M. Carter. She grew up in Newport News, Virginia, with her parents and her brothers.

In the early 1910s she worked in Newport News as a stenographer for a black banker, notary, and real estate agent, E. C. Brown, president of the Crown Savings Bank. In 1910 she married Abram James Poe, a waiter; they had two children. For a time around 1920Marian Poe worked in the office of Joseph Thomas Newsome, a black attorney. The experience convinced Poe to become a lawyer.

Success would not come easy. The law schools in Virginia—Washington and Lee University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Richmond—excluded black applicants. Few black men in Virginia had become lawyers, and Virginia law before 1920 ...


Carl A. Wade

was born Orlando Montrose Thompson, son of Joseph Thompson (schoolmaster) and Rachel (Green) Thompson in the parish of St. James, Barbados. After working in Barbados as a bookkeeper for several years, he left the island for the United States in 1907. In the U.S. he often used the names O. Montrose Thompson and Montrose Thompson.

He attended night classes at DeWitt Clinton School, New York City, from 1907 to 1908, and in 1909 graduated from the Ontario Business College in Canada, having completed a ten-month course in six months with outstanding grades and a personal recommendation from the president of that institution. During that year Thompson, who was also an organist, started work as secretary to the manager of a theater in New York City with duties that included writing music.

He married Estelle Melville Morgan—also a native of Barbados —in New York City in May 1912 ...