Legal History

These 14 black lawyers broke down barriers and made history (gallery)

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Statue of a man standing in front of a wall that says equal justice.

Graphic by Sara Wadford.

February is Black History Month, a time to honor the heritage and triumphs of African American people from the past to the present. From abolitionists to modern social justice advocates, the list of African American trailblazers is extensive.

As a tribute to Black History Month, the ABA Journal decided to narrow our focus and honor 14 groundbreaking Black lawyers—including two past ABA presidents, Dennis Archer and Paulette Brown. Archer was the first Black president and a recipient of the 2016 ABA Medal, the association’s highest award; Brown was the ABA’s first female Black president.

With JDs in hand, these 14 attorneys defied adversity to become pioneers in their fields. Check out the gallery below to discover how each of these Black lawyers made history.

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