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Article

Laurie Jacklin

was born in Preston, St. Mary Parish, Jamaica, on 13 February 1941, to Ivan Haye and Gladys Hyatt. Pamela remained in Jamaica with her grandmother during the 1950s when her parents followed the path of many British-Caribbean subjects and migrated to England hoping to improve their lives. In London, Gladys worked in the printing industry and Ivan was employed at the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (Ministry of Defence). After completing school at West Indies College, Pamela joined her parents in 1958 and studied biochemistry in London.

A vacation in 1966 altered the course of Appelt s life as she decided to remain in Montreal Quebec just shortly after the Canadian government ended its White Canada immigration policy which had traditionally excluded most Caribbean born people She accepted a position in medical biochemistry research at McGill University in Montreal and completed a master s degree in public policy at ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Cheryl Dudley

attorney, judge, and civil rights activist, was born in Huntington, West Virginia, to the Reverend William Roderick Brown and Maria Wiggins Rowlett Brown. He attended Virginia Union University in Richmond and in 1923 earned a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh, graduating third in a class of twenty-two students.

Following his graduation in October 1923, Brown joined the Allegheny County Bar Association and became active in his community to reduce crime and improve the quality of life for youth. He married Wilhelmina Byrd in 1927, and the couple had one son, Byrd Rowlett Brown who also became a well known attorney and civil rights activist in Pittsburgh During the 1930s when there was an increase in crime as a result of the Great Depression Brown chaired the Friendly Service Bureau a committee established to help reduce crime in Pittsburgh Along with the help of the ...

Article

Graeme Reid

South African human rights lawyer, Rhodes Scholar, and a Justice of South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, was born in Pretoria, South Africa, on 15 February 1953, to Kenneth Hughson Cameron, an electrician, and Salome Schoeman Cameron. He completed his schooling at Pretoria Boys’ High School and obtained a BA Law and an Honors degree in Latin, both cum laude, at Stellenbosch University. He lectured in Latin and Classical Studies before studying at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. At Oxford he obtained a BA in Jurisprudence and the Bachelor of Civil Law, earning first-class honors and the top law prizes. Cameron received his LLB from the University of South Africa, and won the medal for the best law graduate.

Cameron practiced at the Johannesburg Bar from 1983 to 1994. From 1986 he was a human rights lawyer based at the University of the Witwatersrand s Centre ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Mary S. Lederer and Elizabeth Macharia-Mokobi

Botswana lawyer, judge, and women’s and human rights activist, was born on 23 April 1959, in Mochudi in the Kgatleng District of Botswana, 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the capital Gaborone, to Phiri and Malefshane. One of six children, Dow received her early education in Mochudi and attended law school at the University of Botswana and Swaziland and later at Edinburgh University, qualifying as an attorney in 1983. She immediately took employment as a criminal prosecutor with the Attorney General’s Chambers in Gaborone. On 7 March 1984, she married Peter Nathan Dow, an American national. They set up home in Mochudi with her daughter Cheshe Maitumelo (born in 1979) and welcomed two more children: a son, Tumisang Tad, in 1985 and another daughter, Natasha Selemo, two years later.

In 1986 Dow left the employ of the government and entered into private practice as a partner ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian lawyer, judge, and nationalist leader, was born in the delta village of Kafr al-Musayliha in Minufiyya Province on 23 December 1870. Son of a prominent landowning family, Fahmi was educated at first in the traditional educational system of his village primary school (kuttab), the Ahmadi Mosque in Tanta, and al-Azhar, but later entered the secular school system, attending the Khedival Secondary School in Cairo, and graduating from the School of Administration in 1890.

After working in the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Administration of Waqfs through the 1890s, in 1903 Fahmi opened a private law practice. He was elected to the new Legislative Assembly in 1913. One of Egypt’s most distinguished lawyers, in 1914 Fahmi became president of the Egyptian Bar Association for the first time he would hold this position twice more in later years He also served as president of the ...

Article

Andre D. Vann

lawyer, educator, and first black chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, was born in Ellerbe, North Carolina, the eighth of the twelve children of Walter Frye and Pearl Motley, farmers. In the late 1920s his father sought to ensure financial security for his family by purchasing a forty-six-acre tobacco and cotton farm with the assistance of a loan from a local bank, which made him one of only a handful of blacks who owned land in Ellerbe. Later his father purchased a small sawmill from white owners. Frye attended the segregated Mineral Springs School in Ellerbe and graduated as valedictorian in 1949. In June 1953 he earned a BS in biology with highest honors from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College later North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U S Air Force and served ...

Article

Eric R. Jackson

was born on February 13, 1945 in Washington, DC, to Leslie and Bernice Gaines. The family then moved to Sandy Spring, in Montgomery County, Maryland, where his father worked as a custodian at one of the city’s African American high schools. From the time that he was a child, Gaines believed that one day he would be a community activist or become a member of the legal profession. For example, despite being told by a high school counselor that he should quit school and find a manual laboring job, Gaines’ journey to the legal profession started as soon as he finished his undergraduate degree at Maryland State College, an HBCU in Princess Anne (now the University of Maryland Eastern Shore) in 1967.

In 1968 he entered Howard Law School in Washington DC without the submission of any LSAT scores which Gaines proclaimed many years later is the system ...

Article

Robert Fikes

federal judge and educator, was born Earl Ben Gilliam in Clovis, New Mexico, the son of James Earl Gilliam, a small-business owner, and Lula Mae Gooden. Gilliam spent most of his boyhood in Oklahoma City before his family moved to San Diego, California, in 1941. At the end of World War II his father opened the Louisiana Fish Market on Imperial Avenue in the heart of the city's African American community, and while attending San Diego High School—where he was an outstanding tackle on the football team—Gilliam spent many after-school hours assisting the family business. While attending San Diego State College he enjoyed acting in plays and was one of the earliest pledges of the school's first black fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi. Upon earning his bachelor's degree in Accounting in 1953 Gilliam entered the University of California s Hastings College of Law in San Francisco ...

Article

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

Leland Conley Barrows

Beninese jurist, historian, international civil servant, human rights activist, and chief justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Benin, was born on 15 March 1934 in the town of Zinvié, not far from Abomey, the former royal capital of the Fon Kingdom of Dahomey. Because Glélé’s intellectual talents were recognized by his Roman Catholic primary school teachers, he was enabled to complete his secondary education at the Lycée van Vollenhoven in Dakar, Senegal, where he earned the lettres classiques baccalaureate in 1955. After a year of studying law at the newly founded University of Dakar, he entered the preparatory section of the prestigious Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris in order to qualify, in 1958, for the diploma of civil administration, awarded by the National School for the Training of Overseas Administrators (the former École Coloniale). He then went on to earn the licence in law in 1960 ...

Article

Josephine Dawuni

judge, women’s rights advocate, and civic leader, originally from Togo and active as an adult in Ghana, was born Annie Ruth Baeta in Lomé, Togo, on 7 October 1918. Her father, Reverend Robert Domingo Baeta, was a teacher and minister and her mother, Henrietta Baeta (née Sedode), was also a teacher. On 10 January 1953, Annie Ruth Baeta married Fred K. A. Jiagge; they later adopted a son. Jiagge began her early education in Lomé, and later went to live with her maternal grandmother, Julia B. Sedode, in Keta, Ghana (then known as the Gold Coast), to be educated in English. In 1938, she attained a teaching certificate from Achimota College, and taught until 1944. In 1946, she began teaching an adult domestic science class to help improve the literacy rate among adults in Keta.

In 1947 after passing the London matriculation exam Jiagge ...

Article

LaRose M. Davis

was born Velvalea Hortense Rodgers, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the second of three daughters of Thelma Etha Payne Rodgers, a homemaker, and Russell Lowell Rodgers, a small business owner. Her mother’s side of the family included an African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) bishop as well as African missionaries. From an early age Phillips demonstrated an intellectual prowess that would be the hallmark of her academic career. After graduating from North Division High School in 1942, she won an Elks Scholarship that allowed her to study at Howard University and graduate in 1946. In 1947 she met and married fellow student W. Dale Phillips. After two years of working as a social worker, Phillips enrolled in the University of Wisconsin Madison law school. In 1951 she became the first African American woman to earn a law degree from the UW.

After her graduation the couple moved to Milwaukee where Phillips immediately ...

Article

Meghan Elisabeth Healy

South African human rights advocate and judge, was born 23 September 1941 into a Tamil family in Clairwood, Durban. Her father was a bus driver, and her mother had never been to school. Pillay first sat in the Durban High Court as a six-year-old, testifying after she was robbed while carrying her father’s wages; this was her first memory of injustice, as her family was never compensated. She attended school in Durban, where she wrote essays decrying apartheid’s injustices and harbored ambitions to ameliorate these injustices as a lawyer. Some of her teachers discouraged her dreams.

Her family and community nonetheless collaborated to fund her education at the University of Natal, from which she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in 1963 and a bachelor of laws in 1965. At university, Pillay was fascinated by the Nuremberg Trials and joined the antiapartheid Unity Movement. In January of 1965 ...

Article

Donnamaria Culbreth

circuit court judge, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the third of four children born to William and Eva Poole. In 1918 the family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when Poole was four years old.

In 1932 Poole entered the University of Michigan, graduating in 1936 and earning a law degree in 1938. A year later Poole went on to earn a master of law degree from Harvard University. In 1940 Poole passed the Pennsylvania bar, and in 1941 he obtained a job as an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which investigates unfair labor practices. Poole studied federal laws covering labor and labor relations and advised the NLRB board members on cases.

Poole was drafted into the army in 1942 and married Charlotte Crump that same year Poole s experiences in the segregated army were harsh From Poole s experience the duties of black soldiers ...

Article

Simon Topping

prominent New York City judge, was born in Kansas City, Kansas, the son of the Reverend David Foote Rivers, the last African American member of the Tennessee state legislature during Reconstruction, and Silene Gale Rivers. In 1898 his family moved to Washington, D.C., where he completed elementary and high school. He had considered becoming an athlete, but an attack of gout prevented this. He began studying law at Howard University, but in 1911 he entered Yale, where he graduated with Phi Beta Kappa distinction in economics and history in 1915. In 1916 he went to Harvard Law School but left to become an inspector for Winchester Firearms, a post he kept until the United States declared war on Germany in 1917 During the war he attended the segregated officer training school in Des Moines Iowa and served as a first lieutenant with New York s 367th ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Gabonese politician and judge, was born on 20 September 1942 to a Galwa family in the central Gabonese town of Lambaréné. The small Galwa community belongs to the minority Omyènè ethnic community that had received favored access to educational opportunities throughout much of the colonial period. She attended primary and secondary schools in Gabon, and her family was close to the extremely powerful Gabonese politician Georges Rawiri. Like Rawiri, Rogombe (née Etoumba) backed the single-party regime of Omar Bongo Ondimba established in 1968. She was a faithful member of Bongo’s Parti Démocratique Gabonais (PDG; Gabonese Democratic Party), and upon completing her undergraduate and graduate studies of law in France, Rogombe returned to Gabon to work for the government. After first working as a magistrate, Rogombe served as minister of women’s affairs and human rights in the 1980s under longtime prime minister Léon Mebiame, another PDG stalwart.

Rogombe authored ...

Article

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

Peter Limb

Albert (Albie) Louis Sachs, a constitutional judge, lawyer, and human rights activist in the African National Congress (ANC), is an important figure in both South African law and the struggle for national liberation. He helped shift ANC thinking toward constitutionalism and played a central role in the crafting of a new democratic, nonracialist constitution. Sachs was born in 1935 in Johannesburg South Africa to Jewish parents his father Solly Sachs was a radical trade union leader whose revolutionary practices and involvement in strikes and politics had an impact on him from childhood He found nonracialism the norm at home his mother worked as a typist for ANC leader Moses Kotane As a law student Albie Sachs quickly perceived the anomaly of a justice system staffed by whites in a country in which the majority black population was denied even elementary justice Influenced by his parents activism and his ...