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Glenn Allen Knoblock

was a native of South Carolina. Baker was likely born enslaved, but nothing is known of his early life. In 1880, at the age of twenty-two, he was living in Effingham, South Carolina, with his eighteen-year old wife Lavinia and earned a living as a farmer. Nearly two decades later Baker's life, and that of his family, would be turned upside down and end in tragedy as a result of a political appointment following the presidential election of 1896.

By 1897Frazier and Lavinia Baker were living in Lake City, South Carolina, their family having grown to include six children, daughters Cora, Rosa, Sara and newborn Julia, and sons Lincoln and William. In the spring of 1897Frazier Baker received a political appointment from the newly elected president, William McKinley as postmaster of the predominantly white community of Lake City How Baker gained ...


George White

lawyer, politician, and writer. Born and raised in Woodrow Wilson's Washington, D.C., Edward William Brooke III proved to be a trailblazer who built a legal and political career that exceeded the socially imposed limits on blacks in America. At the height of his career, Brooke represented a social justice wing of the Republican Party that has disappeared. Even in his retirement he continues to be a pioneer as an advocate for cancer detection in men.

Brooke grew up in a middle-class household; his father was a lawyer for the Veterans Administration. Brooke attended the segregated public schools of Washington, graduating from Dunbar High School in 1936 and from Howard University in 1941 Shortly thereafter the U S Army drafted Brooke During his tenure in the military he served with the 366th Combat Infantry Regiment and defended enlisted men in military court cases Following the deployment of ...


Cary D. Wintz

law enforcement officer, mayor, cabinet secretary, and professor. Lee Brown is best known as a high-profile law enforcement officer who held the position of chief of police or its equivalent in four major U.S. cities, served in President Bill Clinton's cabinet as drug czar, and was the first black mayor of Houston, Texas.

Lee Patrick Brown was born in Wewoka, Oklahoma, on 4 October 1937 to Andrew and Zelma Brown, who worked as farm laborers. When Brown was five the family moved to Fowler, California, about ten miles south of Fresno. As a child Brown often joined his parents in the fields, picking crops. But he also stayed in school, and he attended Fresno State University on a football scholarship, studying sociology and criminology.

In 1960 one semester before graduation Brown left college and took a job as a patrolman with the San Jose ...


John Herschel Barnhill

reform police commissioner and politician, was born in Wewoka, Oklahoma, the son of sharecroppers Andrew Brown and Zelma Brown. By the 1940s the Browns were in California, picking grapes, watermelon, and cotton. Lee worked the fields, but he was a high school athlete. An athletic scholarship to Fresno State University and a 1960 Fresno State B.S. in criminology enabled him to pursue police work. He became a San Jose police officer in 1960 even before graduation. In 1964–1965 he was head of the San Jose police union.

He received his M.A. in sociology from San Jose State University in 1964 and became an assistant professor there in 1968, the same year he earned his master's degree in criminology from the University of California, Berkeley. Brown moved to Portland State University in 1968 as chair of the Department of Administration of Justice He received his Ph D from ...


Dorsia Smith Silva

the son of Tanya Carson. He was raised by his maternal grandmother, Julia Carson, because his father did not want to be involved in his life and his mother suffered from schizophrenia. André grew up in a political household: his grandmother Julia served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1972 to 1976 and the Indiana Senate from 1976 to 1990. She was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for Indiana’s 10th District, covering Indianapolis, in 1997. After redistricting in 2003 she represented Indiana’s 7th district, which included much of her old seat.

While attending Arsenal Technical High School in his native city, André developed an interest in law enforcement. Carson continued studying this field by obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice management from Concordia University Wisconsin in 2003 Two years later he obtained a Master s degree in Business Management from Indiana ...


Joseph Wilson

a leading African American attorney, judge, and congressman from Detroit, Michigan. Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, George Crockett graduated from Morehouse College and the University of Michigan Law School. Subsequently he started a law practice and later was a cofounder of the National Lawyers Guild, the nation's first racially integrated lawyers' organization which he then served as vice president. In 1939, Crockett became the first African American attorney in the United States Department of Labor and, later, in the Federal Employment Practices Commission. In 1943, he directed the United Auto Workers' Fair Practices Commission, which sought to prevent white workers from engaging in “hate” strikes designed to bar black workers from working in auto plants.

In 1946 in Detroit, he helped form the country's first integrated law firm (Goodman, Eden, Crockett and Robb) and served as a partner until 1966. In 1949 Crockett was sentenced ...


Ruth E. Martin

activist, attorney, judge, and United States congressman, was born in Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida, the son of Minnie Amelia Jenkins and George William Crockett Sr. The former was a licensed public school teacher, and the latter a railroad carpenter for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and Baptist church pastor.

George Crockett Jr. graduated from Morehouse College in 1931, and the University of Michigan Law School in 1934, before returning to Jacksonville. He was one of a small number of practicing African American attorneys in Florida at this time. In 1934 he married Ethelene Crockett, with whom he would have three children, Elizabeth Crockett Hicks, George W. Crockett III, and Ethelene Crockett Jones.

Initiating a lifetime at the forefront of the civil rights legal struggle, Crockett was the first African American lawyer employed by the U.S. Department of Labor, from 1939 ...


Thomas M. Leonard

diplomat, lawyer, and journalist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel Durham and Elizabeth Stephens. Two of his uncles, Clayton Durham and Jeremiah Durham, were noted clergymen who helped Bishop Richard Allen establish the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Durham, who could almost pass for white, studied in the Philadelphia public schools and graduated from the Institute for Colored Youth in 1876.

For five years after leaving high school Durham taught in Delaware and Pennsylvania. In 1881 he entered Towne Scientific School, a branch of the University of Pennsylvania, from which he earned a bachelor's degree in 1886 and a civil engineering degree in 1888. He held several positions during his college career, including reporter for the Philadelphia Times. He excelled as a newspaperman, and his unique abilities eventually led him to the assistant editorship of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin ...


Olive Hoogenboom

educator, lawyer, and diplomat, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Richard Wesley Greener, a seaman who was wounded during the Mexican War while serving aboard USS Princeton, and Mary Ann Le Brune. When he was nine, Greener and his parents moved to Boston but soon left for Cambridge, where he could attend “an unproscriptive school.” Greener's father, as chief steward of the George Raynes, had taken his son on a voyage to Liverpool but then abandoned the sea in 1853 for the California gold fields He was taken sick met with losses and was never heard from again When Greener was twelve years old he left school to help support his mother Although he quit one of his positions after an employer struck him those whom he met while knocking around in different occupations often helped educate him sharing their ...


Daniel Donaghy

legislator. Alcee Lamar Hastings was born in Altamonte Springs, Florida, to Julius C. Hastings and Mildred L. Hastings. He graduated from Crooms Academy in Sanford, Florida, in 1954 and from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1958. He began his law studies at Howard University School of Law from 1958 to 1960 and completed his JD at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee in 1963. Hastings was an active participant in civil rights demonstrations and was arrested eleven times in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. After he passed the Florida bar exam, he worked as a private attorney until he became a circuit court judge of Broward County, Florida, a position he held from 1977 to 1979. He was appointed U.S. district judge for the Southern District of Florida, where he remained from 1979 until Congress impeached him on eight articles involving perjury and conspiracy to accept ...


Jason Philip Miller

politician, was born in Altamonte Springs, Florida, to Julius and Mildred Hastings, both of whom took domestic work. Determined that the young Hastings should have a complete education, they moved out of the state in search of more profitable employment, leaving Alcee in the care of a grandmother.

Hastings attended schools in nearby Sanford, Florida, before matriculating in 1954 at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he pursued degrees in zoology and botany. He graduated in 1958. Soon, however, Hastings became interested in legal studies. In 1958 he enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and in 1963 graduated with a J.D. from Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Florida. Shortly thereafter he took up a law practice.

Hastings had an interest in elective office, so in 1970 he mounted a campaign for a seat in the U S Senate but went down to defeat in the Florida ...


Kenneth Mack

to Eric H. Holder, Sr., a Realtor who emigrated from Barbados, and Miriam Holder (formerly Miriam Rosalie Yearwood), an Episcopal Church secretary, who was a New Jersey native of Barbadian ancestry. Eric Himpton Holder, Jr. grew up in a black middle class enclave in East Elmhurst, Queens. His life took a significant turn when his test scores earned him a place as one of the few black students admitted to Stuyvesant High School, where he played basketball before attending Columbia College (B.A., American History, 1973), and Columbia Law School (J.D., 1976). The tall (six feet, three inches) and popular Holder, called “Ricky” in his youth, entered Columbia at a turbulent time in its history, and participated in a black student takeover of the school’s former ROTC office, as well as a program to mentor poor Harlem children on the weekends.

Upon graduation from law school Holder began his ...


Donna A. Patterson

lawyer, politician, state senator, and U.S. congressman, was born one of nine children in Lake Providence, Louisiana, to Mose and Angelina Jefferson. His father worked for the Army Corps of Engineers and managed a sharecropping plot. After graduating from high school, Jefferson majored in political science and English at Southern University in Baton Rouge where he met his future wife, Andrea Green. There he became involved in campus politics. His activities included organizing a protest about campus living conditions; he was also elected student body president. In 1969 he received his BA, and in 1972 he was awarded a JD degree from Harvard University. In 1996 he returned to school to complete a master of laws in Taxation from Georgetown University.

He married Green in 1970. Their union produced five daughters: Jamila, Jalila, Jelani, Nailah, and Akilah His ...


Elizabeth K. Davenport

attorney and civic leader, was born in Chicago into an African American family of successful lawyers. Her father, C. Francis Stradford, was a prominent attorney on Chicago's South Side and the founder of the National Bar Association (NBA), which he established in 1925. In 1940 C. Francis Stradford successfully argued the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark case Hansberry v. Lee, which abolished the restrictive covenants that had limited racial integration in Chicago neighborhoods. Her grandfather, J. B. Stradford, was a well-known lawyer in the African American community and the owner of the only black hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her mother, Aida Arrabella Carter Stradford, was an artist and a homemaker.LaFontant's indoctrination to the legal profession occurred early. As a student at Englewood Public High School in Chicago, she spent the summers working in her father's law office. In the autumn of 1939 she ...


Aimee Lee Cheek and William Cheek

political leader and intellectual, was born free in Louisa County, Virginia, the son of Ralph Quarles, a wealthy white slaveholding planter, and Lucy Jane Langston, a part-Native American, part-black slave emancipated by Quarles in 1806. After the deaths of both of their parents in 1834, Langston and his two brothers, well provided for by Quarles's will but unprotected by Virginia law, moved to Ohio. There Langston lived on a farm near Chillicothe with a cultured white southern family who had been friends of his father and who treated him as a son. He was in effect orphaned again in 1839 when a court hearing concluding that his guardian s impending move to slave state Missouri would imperil the boy s freedom and inheritance forced him to leave the family Subsequently he boarded in four different homes white and black in Chillicothe and Cincinnati worked ...


SaFiya D. Hoskins

United States congresswoman, lawyer, and judge, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the second of three daughters of Voyd Lee Majette and Olivia Carolyn (Foster) Majette. Her father was a real estate agent and assessor, and her mother was a teacher. Growing up during the civil rights era, Majette was particularly interested in how law was used to effect social change and had early aspirations of becoming a lawyer. She attended Erasmus Hall High School, in Brooklyn, and graduated in the top 10 percent of her class. In 1972 she entered the freshman class at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and despite poor grades during her first semester, she refocused her efforts to perform better. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in History in 1976 Pursuing her childhood dream Majette enrolled at Duke University Law School in Durham North Carolina and graduated with a ...


Marc A. Sennewald

civil rights attorney and U.S. Supreme Court justice. Thurgood (originally Thoroughgood) Marshall grew up on Druid Hill Avenue, which was the center of the African American working-class community in the segregated city of Baltimore. His father, William, worked as a dining car waiter on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and as head steward at the exclusive Gibson Island club on the Chesapeake Bay. Marshall's mother, Norma Arica, had studied briefly at Columbia University in New York and taught kindergarten in Baltimore's segregated schools.

Marshall was a masterful storyteller and raconteur who often embellished his narratives to make a point One of his stories had it that in grammar school he had to memorize sections of the Constitution as punishment for classroom misbehavior By the time he left the school he knew the whole thing by heart an auspicious start for the man who would become the twentieth century ...


Todd M. Brenneman

athlete and attorney, was born in Selma, Alabama, to William Henry Matthews, a tailor, and Elizabeth Abigail Matthews. Little is known about his early childhood, but he attended Tuskegee Institute from 1893 to 1896 and came to the attention of Booker T. Washington, who arranged for him to attend Phillips Andover Academy in Massachusetts in 1896. At Andover Matthews excelled at football, baseball, and track as well as academics. He was also popular with his classmates who gave him a silver loving cup, a large cup that has multiple handles on it so it can be passed around to various people at a banquet, at graduation.

As successful as he was at Andover, Matthews truly came into his own as an athlete during his college career. Enrolling at Harvard in 1901 Matthews earned places on the varsity football and baseball teams in his freshman ...


Daryl A. Carter

congressman, was born Kendrick Brett Meek in Miami, Florida, one of three children and the only son of Carrie Pittman Meek, a member of Congress. Carrie Pittman Meek and Kendrick's father divorced; the first name of Meek's father is unknown. After completing high school, Meek attended Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. In college, Meek demonstrated a keen interest in politics and public affairs by founding the Florida A&M University's Democratic Club. Meek, within a year, was elected president of Florida's College Young Democrats. The future congressman was also a standout football player. He graduated with a B.S. in Criminal Justice in 1989. After being introduced by a judge with whom he was acquainted, Meek courted and married Leslie Dixon of Brooklyn, New York, in 1991. The couple has two children, Lauren and Kendrick Jr.

After his successful performance in college Meek used his degree to secure ...


Donald A. Ritchie

a Pentagon employee who became a celebrated witness during Senator Joseph McCarthy's investigation of Communism in the government, was born in Chester, South Carolina. One of six children of Katie and Clemon Crawford, tenant farmers, she began picking cotton at the age of five. While in her teens, she moved with her parents to Salisbury, North Carolina, where she attended but did not graduate from high school. At twenty-one she married Ernest Moss, a worker at a tobacco factory in Durham, North Carolina. They had one son.

Moss moved to Washington, D.C., in 1941, where her husband took a construction job and she ironed at a laundry. In 1943 she became a dessert cook for the Welfare and Recreation Association which assigned her to the Pentagon cafeteria As a condition of employment she joined the Washington Cafeteria Workers union a local chapter of the United Federal ...