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Photo -- Amirali Raissnia

Judge Greg Mathis, from the television show, "Judge Mathis," speaking at an event organized by The Black Law Students Association of the University of Minnesota Law School. Mathis, once a high school dropout in a violent Detroit neighborhood, graduated from the University of Detroit Law School.




The first Black to hold a major judicial position was Jonathan Jasper Wright, who was elected by the General Assembly to the South Carolina Supreme Court on February 1, 1870, to fill an unexpired term.  He was elected on December 9, 1870, to a full six-year term.

The first Black municipal judge was Mifflin Wister Gibbs, who was elected city judge of Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1873.

The first Black Supreme Court justice was Thurgood Marshall, who was nominated by President Johnson and confirmed by the Senate on August 30, 1967.

The first Black federal judge in the continental United States was James B. Parsons, who was named to the federal district of the northern district of Illinois on August 9, 1961 by President Kennedy.

The first Black on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was William H. Hastie, who was nominated by President Truman on September 15, 1949.

The first Black justice of a state supreme court in the 20th century was Otis Milton Smith, who was named to th eMichigan court on October 10, 1961.

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