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Andre D. Vann

lawyer and judge, was born in Smithfield, North Carolina, the youngest of the three children of Reverend Joseph C. Melton, a Baptist minister and teacher, and Alian A. Reynolds Melton. She received her early education in the public school system of Danville, Virginia, and at the age of fifteen graduated from the James B. Dudley High School in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 1937 she graduated from the neighboring North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College with a bachelor's degree in music. The following year, at the age of eighteen, she married Girardeau Alexander, a surgeon, and had a son, Girardeau Alexander III.

Alexander worked as a mathematics and history teacher and directed music in South Carolina and North Carolina for four years before deciding that music would not be her lifelong vocation Instead she longed for a career in law despite the profession s being largely ...

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Sibyl Collins Wilson

lawyer, State Supreme Court Justice, mayor of Detroit, Michigan, and president of the American Bar Association, was born in Detroit to Ernest and Frances Archer, and was raised in Cassopolis, Michigan. Determined to raise himself from poverty, and encouraged by his parents to value education, Archer was steadfast in his studies. He graduated from Cassopolis High School in 1959 and entered Western Michigan University that fall. While attending Western Michigan he pledged Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the first black collegiate fraternal organization. He graduated in 1965.

Archer had a desire to teach, so he relocated to Detroit and took a position in the Detroit schools teaching and assisting emotionally disturbed students. He met Trudy Duncombe, another young teacher, during this tenure, and they married on 17 June 1967 Although dedicated to education Archer began to prepare himself for another level of public service when he entered ...

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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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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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Dale P. Olson

law professor and former West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice, was born Franklin Dorrah Cleckley in Newberry, South Carolina, the youngest of eleven children of Daniel Cleckley, a sawmill worker, and Ellen Dorrah Cleckley, a schoolteacher.

Justice Cleckley's family moved to Huntington, West Virginia, from South Carolina to join relatives seeking greater economic opportunities. Huntington was a railroad town with segregated neighborhoods, in a segregated State. After attending a segregated Catholic school and being taught by white nuns for a portion of grade school, he was educated in the public schools, and was a member of the first integrated class at Huntington High School.

A vivid memory of childhood he later recalled was when his father lost a portion of an arm working in a sawmill and received no compensation for his injury The consequences of this devastating injury meant the obligation to earn a living now ...

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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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DeCarlous Spearman

attorney, judge, poet, and activist, was one of ten children born to Albert, a laborer, and Mary Burleson Doyle, a laundress, in a four room house in Austin, Texas. In 1928 Doyle graduated Salutatorian from Anderson High School and magna cum laude from Samuel Huston College (later Huston-Tillotson College) in 1933. After college he taught in the Austin public school system and later took graduate courses at Columbia University.

On 4 March 1947 the Texas State University for Negroes (later Texas Southern University) was established to keep Heman Sweatt, a black applicant, from entering law school at the University of Texas (UT). This new school offered something unavailable to blacks in Texas, the opportunity to attend law school in their own state. On 22 September 1947 Doyle was the first student to register at the new law school This would be ...

Article

Eric Allen Hall

sociologist, civil rights activist, and author, was born in East St. Louis, Illinois, the eldest son of Adelaide Cruise, a homemaker, and Harry Edwards, a factory worker. Growing up in the poor, predominately black neighborhood of Southend, Edwards and his seven brothers and sisters suffered from inadequate housing, malnutrition, and absentee parents. On two separate occasions, his mother left the family without warning, and his father spent more time at work at the chemical and defense plant that were his two main places of employment and at a local saloon than he did at home. Edwards attended two segregated elementary schools, Denverside and Dunbar, alongside illiterate adults who wanted to learn how to read. Many of his teachers remembered the 1917 race riots in East St. Louis, and they were the first to instill in him the importance of learning African American history. In 1954 ...

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Erin L. Thompson

jurist and professor. Edwards was born in New York, the son of George H. Edwards, a member of the Michigan state house of representatives from 1955 to 1978, and Arline Ross Lyle, a social worker. Edwards graduated from Cornell University in 1962 and the University of Michigan Law School in 1965, then worked at a law firm in Chicago until 1970. He then returned to the University of Michigan Law School, teaching as a tenured professor from 1970 to 1975 and 1977 to 1980. Edwards also taught at Harvard Law School (1975–1977) and held visiting professorships at the law schools of Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Georgetown University. He also taught at the Harvard Institute for Educational Management between 1976 and 1982.

Edwards s academic specialty was labor law and he was appointed as arbitrator under a number ...

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F. Michael Higginbotham

federal judge, was born in New York City. Raised by his mother, Arline Ross, a psychiatric social worker, and his father, George F. Edwards, an accountant and state legislator, Edwards enjoyed a very close relationship with his maternal grandfather, a tax attorney, and two uncles who also were lawyers. His decision to attend law school after graduating with a BS degree from Cornell University in 1962 was due to his admiration of his grandfather and encouragement from his two uncles.

In 1962 Edwards entered the University of Michigan Law School, where he achieved a stellar academic record. He served as an editor of the Michigan Law Review was selected for membership in the Order of the Coif a legal honor society reserved for the top 5 percent of students and received American Jurisprudence Awards for outstanding performance in labor law and administrative law As a result ...

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 ...

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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

jurist, historian, and litterateur, was born in the city of Sabta (present-day Ceuta) to an Arab family with origins in the Yemen. ‘Iyad's training in the various branches of Islamic learning was remarkably thorough. He undertook his early education in Sabta at the hand of several scholars, including the jurist ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Isa and the faqih ‘Ali Abu Ishaq al-Fasi. He then traveled to al-Andalus, and there exists notice that he studied there with no fewer than a hundred scholars, among them several leading figures of the age, including the traditionist Abu ‘Ali al-Sadafi of Murcia (d. 1120/21), the jurist Abu al-Walid ibn Rushd of Cordoba (d. 1126), and the religious scholar and jurist Abu Bakr ibn al-‘Arabi of Seville (d. 1148).

Unlike many of his fellow North Africans it appears that Iyad never made the journey to ...

Article

Luther Brown

teacher, lawyer, and judge, was born Norma Holloway in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to H. Lee Holloway, a laborer, and Beatrice Williams Holloway, an elementary school teacher. Norma was the elder of two children; a son named Lionel was born later. The family left Lake Charles for Washington, D.C., when Norma was fourteen years old, during the Great Migration of blacks to Northern cities. H. Lee died shortly after the move. Beatrice continued to teach, although in Washington she began to teach adults, which offered better pay and was to her more personally rewarding. Beatrice Holloway believed strongly that a good education would be the salvation of African Americans, and she strongly encouraged academic achievement in her children.

The children thrived in the outstanding public schools of the District of Columbia which at the time were renowned for their rigorous and academically excellent curricula Norma attended ...

Article

Yuusuf Caruso

Islamic reformer, scholar, teacher, and jurist, was born in the island town of Mombasa, on the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa, in what is now southeastern Kenya. Sheikh al-Amin’s family belonged to the Omani Arab clan that ruled Mombasa for almost two centuries. The Mazruʿi first emigrated from the Imamate of Oman in the Arabian peninsula to the east coast of Africa during the second half of the seventeenth century. Since the early 1500s, Portuguese soldiers and traders at Mombasa and Malindi had been engaged in an intermittent struggle against the indigenous Swahili merchant elite and the Omani Arabs. In the early eighteenth century, the Portuguese were finally driven out. In 1735 the Mazruʿi liwalis governors came to power in Mombasa and extended their rule over an area stretching from Ras Ngomeni north of Malindi to the Pangani River south of Tanga in what is now northeastern Tanzania ...

Article

Kathleen McCree Lewis

lawyer, judge, Solicitor General of the United States, and law professor, was born in Des Moines, Iowa, the second of four children of Lucretia Harper McCree, a former schoolteacher, and Wade Hampton McCree Sr., a pharmacist, drugstore proprietor, and, later, federal narcotics inspector. Both parents were college graduates who highly valued education. Their example and expectations profoundly affected McCree who, throughout his career in public service and law, was deeply interested in education and involved in expanding educational opportunities for African Americans.

The senior McCree's pharmacy, established in 1914, was the first African American–owned drug store in Iowa. By 1924 however following the postwar downturn of Iowa s agricultural economy McCree s father had given up the business He applied for and was the first African American to be appointed to a position as a U S Narcotics Inspector That career took ...

Article

Egyptian jurist, law professor, judge, and cabinet minister, was born in Alexandria on 11 August 1895. He was also known as an educationalist, a champion of the rule of law, a proponent of national independence and Arab solidarity, a leading proponent of the idea that Islam is the paramount characteristic of Arab and Egyptian civilization, and a proponent of the notion that Islam should be a guide for organizing laws and public institutions in the Arab world. His one daughter was Nadia al-Sanhuri (1935– ). Of modest background, he attended a traditional Islamic elementary school and a state secondary school operated by an Islamic foundation in Alexandria. In 1917 he graduated first in his class at the Sultanic Law School in Cairo (which became in 1925 the Law Faculty of King Fuʾad I University the Egyptian University He completed a doctorate in juridical sciences and a second doctorate ...

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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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Gerard Gryski

lawyer, judge, and civil rights activist, was born Anna Katherine Johnston in Washington, D.C. Her parents sent her to private school because they felt it would be more challenging than the local schools, and in 1950 she graduated from the Northfield School for Girls in Massachusetts. She earned a BA in Economics from Barnard College in 1954 and three years later a law degree (LLB) from Yale. Unable to find employment with a private law firm due to racial and gender discrimination, she became a solicitor in the Department of Labor under J. Ernest Williams, the first African American to hold subcabinet rank (assistant, associate, or deputy secretary) in the federal government.

Taylor married the U.S. congressman Charles Diggs (D-Mich.) in 1960 and moved to Detroit. She-served as a prosecutor for Wayne County (1961–1962 and assistant U S attorney for the Eastern District of ...