Salute 50 Years!

Annual Meeting July 24-31, 2021

In Words

Hon. George Crockett Jr. — Chair (1971-1972)

“In 1971, The National Bar Association (NBA), with the assistance of the Ford Foundation, established the NBA’s Judicial Council.  Judge George Crockett, Jr. served as the Judicial Council’s first chair.  Black power meant producing more black judges, and its founding meeting, the Judicial Council pledge to increase black representation in federal and state judiciaries.

“The Judicial Council’s logo reflected the cultural nationalism of this period.  Founders redrew LADY Justice as an urban black woman with an Afro.  The newly reconstituted figure held the scales of justice in her left hand and was lifting her blinders with her right hand.  The Judicial Council’s log read, “Let us remove the blindfold from the eyes of American justice.  Too long has it obscured the unequal treatment accorded to poor people and black people under our law.”

 

Hon. Sara J. Harper — Chair (1975-1976)

 

“After graduating from Cleveland College in 1948, Sara J. Harper went on to become the first African-American woman to graduate from Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law when she earned her degree in 1952. Harper became a prosecutor in the 1960s. In 1990, she and another woman became the first to win seats on the Ohio Court of Appeals. Then, in 1992, she sat on the Ohio Supreme Court as the first African-American woman to do so. Harper also was the first woman to serve on the judiciary of U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and she co-founded the country’s first victim’s rights program. She also was the Cleveland NAACP president in the early 1980s. After graduating from Cleveland College in 1948, Sara J. Harper went on to become the first African-American woman to graduate from Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law when she earned her degree in 1952. Harper became a prosecutor in the 1960s. In 1990, she and another woman became the first to win seats on the Ohio Court of Appeals. Then, in 1992, she sat on the Ohio Supreme Court as the first African-American woman to do so.  Harper also was the first woman to serve on the judiciary of U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and she co-founded the country’s first victim’s rights program. She also was the Cleveland NAACP president in the early 1980s.”

 

 

Hon. Theodore R. Newman — Chair (1977-1978)

 

‘Theordore R. Newman was the first black Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the highest court for the District of Columbia. Newman was born in Birmingham and raised in Tuskegee, Alabama, where his father was a Methodist minister and his mother was a schoolteacher. He graduated from the Mount Herman School for Boys, a boarding school in Massachusetts, in 1951. He went on to earn a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Brown University in 1955 and a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1958. After law school he spent three years as a judge advocate in the United States Air Force stationed in France. On his return to the United States, he moved to Washington, D.C., to work at the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division from September 1961 to August 1962. He then entered private practice as an associate at Houston, Bryant & Gardner, a prominent law firm founded by Charles Hamilton Houston and Wendell P. Gardner Sr., where his colleagues included future federal judge William B. Bryant. In 1970, Newman was named to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and in 1976 he was elevated to the D.C. Court of Appeals and designated its new chief judge. He was the first black chief judge of any state-level court system in the United States. At the time, there were fewer than a dozen black judges serving on state appeals courts. In 1979, Ebony named Newman among the one hundred most influential black Americans.”

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