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Johnie D. Smith

Macon Bolling Allen was born A. Macon Bolling in Indiana; the names of his parents and exact date of birth are unknown. He changed his name to Macon Bolling Allen by act of the Massachusetts legislature on 26 January 1844. Details of Allen's early life and education are sketchy and contradictory. His birth name is given in some sources as Malcolm B. Allen, and his birthplace as South Carolina. Evidence suggests that he lived in Maine and Massachusetts as a young man. Maine denied his initial application to the Maine bar because of allegations that he was not a state citizen, but he purportedly ran a Portland business before 1844. It is known that he read law in the Maine offices of two white abolitionist lawyers, Samuel E. Sewell and General Samuel Fessenden and that the latter promoted his admission to the Maine bar in ...

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Johnie D. Smith

lawyer and judge, was born A. Macon Bolling in Indiana; the names of his parents and the exact date of his birth are unknown. He changed his name to Macon Bolling Allen by an act of the Massachusetts legislature on 26 January 1844. Details of Allen's early life and education are sparse and contradictory. His birth name is given in some sources as Malcolm B. Allen, and his birthplace as South Carolina. Evidence suggests that he lived in Maine and Massachusetts as a young man. Maine denied his initial application to the Maine bar because of allegations that he was not a state citizen, but he purportedly ran a Portland business before 1844. It is known that he read law in the Maine offices of two white abolitionist lawyers, Samuel E. Sewell and General Samuel Fessenden and that Fessenden promoted his admission to the Maine ...

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Werner Stangl

jurist and notable in the viceroyalty of Nueva Granada (present-day Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama), was born in Portobelo, Panama, the oldest son of Pedro Antonio de Ayarza. He had two brothers, Pedro Crisólogo and Antonio Nicanor. The existing biographic data on José Ponciano are tenuous and largely based on a series of petitions to the Spanish king presented by his father Pedro.

Ponciano’s father was a Portobelo merchant of considerable wealth, despite his status as a pardo (free person of darker skin color). He served as captain of the town’s pardo militia for decades. His commercial activity was long-distance trade, which rested in the hands of a very small group and was heavily dependent on mutual trust, most often including forms of kinship.

Although this degree of success was remarkable, pardos were generally the most upwardly mobile social group in colonial Nueva Granada However their integration could not ...

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Aaron Myers

Born in Salvador, Bahia, Rui Barbosa de Oliveira studied at the law academies of Recife and São Paulo, where he met Antônio de Castro Alves, the “Poet of the Slaves,” and future abolitionist Joaquim Nabuco. Barbosa's abolitionist campaign began in 1869, when he organized the conference “O Elemento Servil” (The Servile Element). Although the slave trade had been outlawed on November 7, 1831, slaves who had entered Brazil before that time remained in bondage, and many Africans had since been illegally enslaved. At the Elemento Servil conference, Barbosa condemned slavery on legal grounds by invoking this 1831 law.

In the following years Barbosa frequently challenged the proslavery Conservative Party. During the provincial elections of 1874 he criticized the Free Womb Law, which freed the children of all female slaves, as “a superficial improvement.” In 1884 he joined a reform cabinet led by Manoel Dantas ...

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Tunisian author, teacher, reformer, jurisconsult, was born in Tunis in March 1840. His mother was the daughter of Mahmoud Khouja, a minister of Ahmed Bey. His father, Mustapha Ben Mohamed Bayram Ath Thalith III, was a wealthy landowner and merchant from a family of scientists and administrators. When he died in Tunis in 1863, he left his son symbolic capital comprising precious documents, land, properties, funds, merchandise, and social contacts.

Bayram s education was centered both in the family s extensive library and in the rich Tunisian cultural milieu From an early age he studied the Qurʾan hadith and Arabic He studied with eminent professors from the Zeytouna University such as Bayram que Mustapha Bayram Ahmed Mohamed Mouaya Ben Tahar Mohamed Achour and others receiving excellent training in many subjects both Islamic and non Islamic His family was well placed in the social and intellectual circles of Tunis ...

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Harold N. Burdett

jurist and civil rights activist, was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, the son of Thomas Bell, a construction worker, and Rosa Lee (Jordan) Bell, a health-care practitioner and the daughter of sharecroppers. In the mid-1940s Robert M. Bell, his parents, and two older brothers moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where he entered public schools.

As a sixteen-year-old student at Baltimore's Dunbar High School, Bell was recruited by the Civic Interest Group, a student integrationist organization, along with classmates and students from the historically black Morgan State College, to enter whites-only restaurants and request service. Years later Bell recalled that at the time he did not tell his mother what he was doing because he considered it a “high risk” undertaking (Cox).

On 17 June 1960 some five months after the historic sit in demonstrations at a segregated Woolworth s lunch counter in Greensboro North Carolina Bell ...

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Timothy J. McMillan

slave, janitor, magistrate, teacher, principal, and the first black elected official in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was born Wilson Swain at the home of University of North Carolina president David Swain in Chapel Hill. His father was (Doctor) November Caldwell, a slave of the former university president Joseph Caldwell; his mother was Rosa Burgess, a slave of Swain's. Under the law and practice of slavery in North Carolina, children took on the surnames of their owners, not of their fathers. As a child Wilson Swain was a personal servant to Robert Swain, his owner's son, and then as a young teenager he was an apprentice to the University of North Carolina's chief gardener, Mr. Paxton. In violation of law and custom, but due, no doubt, to the university atmosphere, he was taught to read and write.

As an adult Wilson Swain served the University of North Carolina ...

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Sean Patrick Adams

Salmon Portland Chase was born in New Hampshire. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1826 and eventually set up a successful law practice in Cincinnati, Ohio. After defending the freedom of several escaped slaves in Ohio, Chase became more involved in the growing antislavery movement of the 1830s and 1840s. He first affiliated himself with the Liberty Party and attempted to shape it into more than a single-issue antislavery organization. Throughout his political career, Chase was able to hold a curious balance between political idealism and aggressive self-promotion. His performance in the 1848 convention that resulted in the formation of the Free Soil Party was a case in point Chase gained national prominence in his role as chair of the convention and proved to be an effective coalition builder Although he was not satisfied with the narrow goals of the Free Soil movement he was willing to ...

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Donnamaria Culbreth

lawyer, judge, professor of law, and civil rights activist, was born on a plantation near Shreveport, Louisiana. Nothing is known about Cobb's parents, except that his mother was white and his father black. Orphaned at an early age, Cobb worked various jobs and was eventually able to save enough money to attend private schools. Cobb studied at Straight University (later Dillard University) in New Orleans and Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. After relocating to Washington, D.C., Cobb continued his education and graduated from Howard University with a bachelor of law degree in 1899. In 1900 Cobb was awarded a JD from Howard University School of Law.

Cobb was admitted to the Washington, D.C., bar in 1901 and began practicing law. His practice primarily involved handling racial discrimination cases on behalf of black Americans. In 1907 Cobb was appointed special assistant in the U S Department of Justice and ...

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Steven J. Niven

lieutenant‐governor of South Carolina and the leading nineteenth century African American freemason, was born in Philadelphia to parents whose names have not been recorded. His father was a free person of color from Haiti and his mother was a white Englishwoman. Gleaves was educated in Philadelphia and New Orleans, and as a young man worked as a steward on steamboats along the Mississippi River.

Gleaves first came to prominence as an organizer of Masonic lodges in Pennsylvania and Ohio. While black freemasonry had gained a foothold under Prince Hall in Massachusetts in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, by the 1840s, Pennsylvania was the center of black fraternalism, and Gleaves would become one of the Order's leading evangelists before the Civil War. In 1846 the year he was first initiated as a brother mason the Pennsylvania Grand Lodge of Prince Hall Masons appointed Gleaves a District Deputy Grand ...

Article

Jay Spaulding

was a prominent northern Sudanese intellectual and jurist of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. His family was Jaʿali by background, but by the mid-1760s they had relocated to the contemporary northern provincial capital of Halfayat al-Muluk. There Muhammad al-Nur’s father Dayf Allah ibn Muhammad served the ruling ʿAbdallab manjil as qadi within the new national Islamic magistracy erected by Muhammad Abu Likeilik, a role in which he was to be succeeded in turn by his sons Dayf Allah and Muhammad al-Nur. Court records produced by the trio between 1767 and 1811 illustrate both their legal expertise and the growing pains of the new judiciary.

The unique contribution of Muhammad al-Nur ibn Dayf Allah was the creation of the reigning masterpiece of precolonial Sudanese Arabic literature, a collection of about three hundred Sudanese saints’ lives called the Kitab al-tabaqat fi khusus al-awliyaʾwaʾl-salihin waʾl-ʿulamaʾ waʾl-shuʿaraʾ fiʾl-sudan. Muhammad al Nur ...

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Jennifer Larson

judge, politician, and activist, was born in Richmond, Virginia. He was the oldest son of George W. Ruffin, a barber, and Nancy Lewis, both free African Americans. Because the Ruffins valued education highly, they hired a tutor to teach their eight children English literature, as well as Latin and the classics, despite the financial strain of this instruction's cost. The Ruffins owned a small amount of property in Richmond, but they decided to abandon it and move to Boston in 1853 after the Virginia legislature prohibited African Americans from learning to read In Boston George W worked as a barber as he had in Richmond while Nancy made a profitable living selling fish and fruit that her relatives shipped to her from Richmond The eight Ruffin children entered the segregated Boston public school system At the Chapman Hall school nineteen year old George excelled ...

Article

David Schroeder

educator, minister, lawyer, and justice, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the first of two children born to George Gilchrist Stewart, a blacksmith, and Anna Morris Stewart, a dressmaker, both free blacks. Stewart attended, but did not graduate from, Avery Normal Institute in the late 1860s, and he entered Howard University in 1869. He matriculated at the integrated University of South Carolina as a junior in 1874, and he graduated in December of the following year with bachelor of arts and bachelor of laws degrees. Stewart married Charlotte “Lottie” Pearl Harris in 1876, and they had three children: McCants (1877), Gilchrist (1879), and Carlotta (1881).

Stewart began his career practicing law in Sumter, and he taught math at the State Agricultural and Mechanical School in Orangeburg during the 1877–1878 school year. South Carolina congressman Robert ...

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Benjamin R. Justesen

attorney and the first black federal judge in the United States, was born in Orange, Virginia, a freeborn son of the former slaves William Henry Harrison Terrell and Louisa Ann (Coleman) Terrell. During the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, the Terrell family moved to Washington, DC, where Harrison Terrell was a member of the White House domestic staff and Robert Terrell was educated in the city's public schools.

Robert Terrell went on to preparatory school at Lawrence Academy, Groton, Massachusetts, before graduating from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in 1884 the third African American to do so and the first to graduate cum laude from Harvard While at Harvard he supported himself as a clerk at the U S Customs House in Boston Returning to Washington he taught classes at the segregated Preparatory High School for Colored Youth later called M Street High School then ...

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Thomas Adams Upchurch

Born in Tioga County, New York, Benjamin Franklin Tracy grew to have an interesting and controversial career in politics, military service, business, and law. He served as a New York State assemblyman in 1861 before joining the Union army in the Civil War. As a brigadier general he received the Medal of Honor for his exploits during the wilderness campaign, but as director of the Elmira prison camp he earned the disapprobation of Southerners for the treatment of Confederate prisoners of war. For most of the Reconstruction years he served as U.S. attorney for eastern New York. He earned a seat on the New York Court of Appeals from 1881 to 1883. His only major national political service came during the presidential administration of Benjamin Harrison, when he was appointed as secretary of the navy in 1889 During his tenure he became Harrison s most trusted ...

Article

jurist, was born in Fez, Morocco, to a family of modest means and came of age in the early decades of the nineteenth century. This was an especially auspicious moment in the cultural life of Fez, which at that time boasted of no less than 500 active scholars, most of them associated in one capacity or another with the great Qarawiyyin mosque, located in the center of the city. The nineteenth-century Moroccan historian and biographer Muhammad ibn Ja’far al-Kattani notes in the Salwat al-anfas that Tusuli received his training primarily at the hand of two scholars the shaykh Sidi Hamdun ibn al Hajj and the mufti Abu Abd Allah Sidi Muhammad bin Ibrahim al Dukkali The first of these two figures Sidi Hamdun ibn al Hajj was as one might expect revered for his faith and piety and was well known for the breadth of his learning in ...

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Steven J. Niven

lawyer, politician, and judge, was born William James Whipper, probably in Glenville, Pennsylvania, one of the four children of Benjamin P. Whipper, who later became a minister in Chatham, Canada. There is some uncertainty about the name of William's mother, which in certain sources is given as Mary Ann (maiden name unknown), and in others is recorded as Sophia Patterson. Part of the confusion may have been caused by William J. Whipper himself, who often claimed that his father was the famed Underground Railroad conductor William Whipper who was in fact Benjamin s brother Not long after his family moved from Pennsylvania to Chatham Canada William appears to have returned to the United States By the late 1850s he was working as a law clerk in Detroit Michigan and later passed the bar exam in that state having earlier failed it in Ohio Around ...

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William C. Hine

politician and jurist, was born in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Little is known of his parents except that his father was a farmer and that the family moved to Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, during Wright's childhood. Wright attended Lancasterian University in Ithaca, New York, and later studied law at the offices of Bently, Fith, and Bently in Montrose, Pennsylvania. He also taught school and read law in the office of Judge O. Collins of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Wright attended the 1864 national black convention in Syracuse, New York, that opposed slavery, supported universal manhood suffrage, and endorsed equality before the law.

At the end of the Civil War in April 1865, the American Missionary Association sent Wright to Beaufort, South Carolina, where he taught adult freedmen and soldiers of the 128th U.S. Colored Troops. In November 1865 he served as a delegate to the Colored Peoples Convention in Charleston Disappointed ...

Article

William C. Hine

Jonathan Jasper Wright was born in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Little is known of his parents except that his father was a farmer and that the family moved to Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, during Wright's childhood. Wright attended Lancasterian University in Ithaca, New York, and later studied law at the offices of Bently, Fith, and Bently in Montrose, Pennsylvania. He also taught school and read law in the office of Judge O. Collins of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Wright attended the 1864 national black convention in Syracuse, New York, which opposed slavery, supported universal manhood suffrage, and endorsed equality before the law.

At the end of the Civil War in April 1865, the American Missionary Association sent Wright to Beaufort, South Carolina, where he taught adult freedmen and soldiers of the 128th U.S. Colored Troops. In November 1865 he served as a delegate to the Colored Peoples' Convention in Charleston Disappointed ...