The Black Law Students Association Welcomes the Class of 2026!
Welcome to the first year of a new beginning! We are thrilled to have you all here and we are wishing you good luck this Fall Semester!
Black Law Students Association of Ohio Northern
The Ohio Northern University chapter of the National Black Law Students Association. BLSA is dedicat
Operating as usual
The Black Law Students Association Welcomes the Class of 2026!
Day 28: Jane Bolin (1908 - 2007)
"Jane Bolin was the first Black woman graduate of Yale Law School and the first Black female judge in the United States. Bolin was born in Poughkeepsie, New York on April 11, 1908. From her earliest days in her father’s law office, Bolin knew she wanted to be an attorney. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1928 and earned her law degree from Yale Law School in 1931.
Bolin clerked in her father’s law office until she passed the New York bar exam in 1932. She married fellow attorney Ralph E. Mizelle a year later, and together they opened up a practice in New York City. In 1937, Bolin was named Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of New York, serving on the Domestic Relation Court. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia appointed Jane Bolin Judge of the Domestic Relations Court in 1939, where she served for 40 years. During her tenure with two other judges she achieved two major changes: the assignment of probation officers to cases without regard for race or religion, and a requirement that publicly funded private child-care agencies accept children without regard to ethnic background.
Judge Jane Bolin reluctantly retired in 1979, after reaching mandatory retirement age, and went on to serve on the New York State University Board of Regents, where she reviewed disciplinary cases. Bolin was also a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Urban League, and the Child Welfare League."" https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/bolin-jane-1908-2007/
Day 27: Benjamin F. Wilson
"“We have to be intentional about diversity the way we are intentional about delivering an uncommon level of client service.”
Esteemed attorney, Ben Wilson is often lauded for his professional accomplishments, which he makes a point of pairing with his important work of increasing diversity in the legal profession. In addition to mentoring attorneys at Beveridge & Diamond where he serves a Chairman, Ben founded the Managing Partner Networks and Diverse Partners Network to ensure that attorneys of color wouldn’t have to experience the isolation and lack of mentorship that he endured in his career, which he began at the Atlanta-based firm, King & Spalding.
In 1979, Ben joined the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice where he twice received a Special Achievement Award. Such honors have been a mainstay. In recent years, Savoy Magazine named him to its list of the Most Influential Black Corporate Directors (2016) and Most Influential Black Lawyers (2015). In 2014, he received the Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, the Commission’s highest honor. ELI magazines called him “The Defender” for his unwavering efforts towards environmental sustainability. Ben is deeply concerned about the environment and ensuring big corporations and industries follow through in their pursuit towards a net zero carbon emission future. With his experience in Environmental Law, he has served as Court-Appointed Monitor of the Duke Energy Coal Ash Spill Remediation Project, as well as Deputy Monitor for Emissions and Environment at the Volkswagen AG emissions proceedings." https://lawyersofcolor.org/ben-wilson/
Day 26: Mary Ann Shadd Cary
"The eldest of 13 children, Mary Ann Shadd Cary was born into a free African-American family in 1823. Her father worked for an abolitionist newspaper Liberator run by famed abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. Her father also helped enslaved people escape as a member of the Underground Railroad.
After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law, Shadd Cary went to Canada with one of her brothers and followed in her father’s footsteps. She became the first female African American newspaper editor in North America starting the Black Canadian newspaper The Provincial Freemen.
After the Civil War, Shadd Cary moved to Washington, D.C., where she earned a law degree from Howard University in 1883. She also actively worked with the women’s suffrage movement, even speaking in front of the House Judiciary Committee in 1874 as part of the fight for the right to vote. https://www.thegellerlawgroup.com/5-influential-black-female-lawyers-in-history/
Day 25: Barbara Jordan
"Barbara Jordan was born in Texas in 1936 and earned her bachelor’s degree in 1956 from Texas Southern University. She attended Boston University for her law degree and upon graduation, became one of the only three Black women to pass the bar and practice law in her home state of Texas. For her first job, Jordan worked as an administrative assistant for a county judge. That same year, she began working on the John F. Kennedy presidential campaign.
In 1967, Jordan was elected to the Texas Senate as the first African-American state senator since the Reconstruction era and the first African-American woman to be in her position. During her time as senator she worked to establish a minimum wage law, anti-discrimination statements in business contracts, and a Fair Employment Practices Commission.
Five years later, Jordan joined the U.S. House of Representatives as the first Southern African-American congresswoman. She served on the House Judiciary Committee, which led to her memorable opening remarks and questioning during the Watergate impeachment hearings.
In 1976, Jordan was mentioned as a possible running mate to Jimmy Carter but instead, became the first African-American woman to deliver a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.
Jordan left Congress and politics in 1979, opting to lecture at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1992, she delivered the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention from a wheelchair because she suffered from multiple sclerosis." https://www.thegellerlawgroup.com/5-influential-black-female-lawyers-in-history/
Day 24: Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993)
"Thurgood Marshall was an American lawyer who was appointed as an associate justice of the Supreme Court in 1967. He was the first African American to hold the position and served for 24 years, until 1991. Marshall studied law at Howard University. As counsel to the NAACP, he utilized the judiciary to champion equality for African Americans. In 1954, he won the Brown v. Board of Education case, in which the Supreme Court ended racial segregation in public schools." https://www.biography.com/legal-figures/thurgood-marshall
Day 23: Michael D. Jones, P.C
"Michael has been featured in The National Law Journal's Defense Verdicts of the Year, The American Lawyer's Big Suits section and Lawyers Weekly USA for his successful defense of NL Industries in the first lead paint case to go to trial. His winning record with dispositive motions has been noted by Corporate Counsel magazine, and his experience in defending against punitive damages has been noted by The National Law Journal. In 26 years, he has never lost a punitive damages case. Michael was recognized for his involvement with youth mentoring in the Legal Times article "Happy Returns." He has authored several articles, including "The Opening Statement: Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You," which appeared in the ABA Automobile Law Committee Newsletter, "Lie-tery Winners," which was featured in The National Law Journal, and "Old Assumptions Die Hard," published in the December 2, 2002 issue of The National Law Journal, to name a few.
In 2007, Michael was named a Leading Lawyer, and selected as one of the top 10 business litigation attorneys in Washington, D.C. by Legal Times. In addition, Michael was selected as one of the top 10 trial attorneys in the nation by The National Law Journal in their feature, "Winning: Successful Strategies From 10 of the Nation's Leading Litigators." He was also chosen as one of the 75 Best Lawyers in Washington by Washingtonian magazine. In 2003, Michael was recognized as one of America's Top Black Litigators by Black Enterprise. Most recently, Michael successfully represented NL Industries in a closely watched lead paint case in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that was the subject of national media attention. He was featured in the American Lawyer's "Top Guns" article, naming Kirkland the "Litigation Department of the Year" in 2008. In 2015, Michael was recognized as Dillard University’s “Male Alumnus of the Year” for his outstanding legal work on behalf of HBCUs." https://www.kirkland.com/lawyers/j/jones-michael-d-pc
Day 22: Evangeline M. Mitchell
"The founder of the National Black Pre-Law Conference and the National HBCU Pre-Law Summit, the country’s only major national information-sharing, networking and empowerment events created especially for aspiring Black lawyers, and for current HBCU students and alumni. Additionally, she founded the National Diversity Pre-Law Conference and the Joint National Black and Hispanic Pre-Law Conference. These events have impacted thousands of minority pre-law students for nearly 17 years. This year, she will host The Inaugural Future Legal Eagles Flight School (National Pre-Law Conference for Black Youth)." https://lawyersofcolor.org/evangeline-mitchell/
Day 21: Fred Gray
"Martin Luther King once described lawyer and activist Fred Gray as “the brilliant young Negro who later became the chief counsel for the protest movement” (King, 41). Gray provided legal advice to Rosa Parks, King’s Montgomery Improvement Association, the local branch and state conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Montgomery Progressive Democratic Association." https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/gray-fred-david-sr
Day 20: Kamala Devi Harris !! Happy President's Day !!
"HARRIS, Kamala Devi, a Senator from California; born in Oakland, Calif., October 20, 1964; B.A., Howard University, 1986; J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 1989; admitted to the California bar in 1990; deputy district attorney, Alameda County, Calif., 1990-1998; managing attorney, San Francisco District Attorney’s Office; chief of the San Francisco City Attorney’s Division on Children and Families; district attorney of San Francisco 2004-2011; attorney general of California 2011-2016; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 2016 and served from January 3, 2017, until January 18, 2021, when she resigned to become Vice President; was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, but was elected Vice President of the United States on the Democratic ticket headed by Joseph R. Biden, Jr. in 2020." https://bioguide.congress.gov/search/bio/H001075
Day 19: Shirley Anita Chisholm
"On this date at the opening of the 91st Congress (1969–1971), Shirley Anita Chisholm of New York became the first African-American Congresswoman. Trained as a school teacher, Chisholm served two terms in the New York state legislature before winning election in November 1968 to a newly created congressional district in Brooklyn. The only woman among the freshman class of the 91st Congress, Chisholm took the House by storm. “I have no intention of just sitting quietly and observing,” she said. “I intend to focus attention on the nation’s problems.” Chisholm continued to work for the causes she had espoused as a community activist. She sponsored increases in federal funding to extend the hours of daycare facilities and a guaranteed minimum annual income for families. She was a fierce defender of federal assistance for education, serving as a primary backer of a national school lunch bill and leading her colleagues in overriding President Gerald R. Ford’s veto on this measure. In 1972, she mounted a longshot presidential bid that nevertheless received national attention. In 1982, after seven terms in the House, Chisholm declined to run for re-election to the 98th Congress (1983–1985). She stated that she had become disillusioned with the conservative politics of the Ronald Reagan administration and factionalism in Congress. After leaving office, Chisholm taught and remained active in political organizations, but never again sought elective office." https://history.house.gov/Historical-Highlights/1951-2000/The-first-African-American-woman-elected-to-Congress/
Day 18: Charles H. Houston (1895-1950)
"The first general counsel of NAACP, Charles Hamilton Houston exposed the hollowness of the "separate but equal" doctrine and paved the way for the Supreme Court ruling outlawing school segregation. The legal brilliance used to undercut the "separate but equal" principle and champion other civil rights cases earned Houston the moniker "The Man Who Killed Jim Crow."" https://naacp.org/find-resources/history-explained/civil-rights-leaders/charles-hamilton-houston
Day 17: Joseph Hayne Rainey (1832–1887)
"Born enslaved, Joseph Rainey was the first African American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, the first to preside over the House, and the longest-serving Black lawmaker in Congress during Reconstruction. Like many Representatives of the era, Rainey introduced few bills, but he was one of the House’s most able orators and labored tirelessly in committee. During his more than eight years in the House, Rainey worked to pass civil rights legislation, fund public schools, and guarantee equal protection under the law. Throughout, he sought to use his position to advocate for the concerns of African Americans on the House Floor. “I can only raise my voice,” Rainey said in 1877, “and I would do it if it were the last time I ever did it, in defense of my rights and in the interests of my oppressed people.”" https://history.house.gov/People/Listing/R/RAINEY,-Joseph-Hayne-(R000016)/
Day 16: Hiram Rhodes Revels (1827–1901)
"A freeman his entire life, Hiram Rhodes Revels was the first African American to serve in the U.S. Congress. With his moderate political orientation and oratorical skills honed from years as a preacher, Revels filled a vacant seat in the United States Senate in 1870. Just before the Senate agreed to admit a black man to its ranks on February 25, Republican Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts sized up the importance of the moment: “All men are created equal, says the great Declaration,” Sumner roared, “and now a great act attests this verity. Today we make the Declaration a reality…. The Declaration was only half established by Independence. The greatest duty remained behind. In assuring the equal rights of all we complete the work.”" https://history.house.gov/People/Listing/R/REVELS,-Hiram-Rhodes-(R000166)/
Day 15: Sherrilyn Ifill
"“It takes an entire ecosystem to make transformational change.”
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is the leading civil rights organization in the United States with impact reaching the four corners of America. Now, more than ever, its fight against police brutality, voting rights, and all other civil rights violations are at record high. All the groundbreaking accomplishments of the LDF in recent times are spearheaded by Sherrilyn Ifill, who in 2013 became the seventh president and second female to lead this prestigious civil rights organization." https://lawyersofcolor.org/sherrilyn-ifill/
Day 14: Happy Valentines Day - "First Lady Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is a lawyer, writer, and the wife of the 44th President, Barack Obama. She is the first African-American First Lady of the United States. Through her four main initiatives, she became a role model for women and an advocate for healthy families, service members and their families, higher education, and international adolescent girls education." https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/first-families/michelle-obama/
Happy valentines Day. Next week we are having an event at the law school.
Day 13: Former President Barack Obama served as the 44th President of the United States. "His story is the American story — values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family, hard work and education as the means of getting ahead, and the conviction that a life so blessed should be lived in service to others." https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/barack-obama/
Day 12: Charlotte E. Ray (1850-1911) "Ray studied at the Institution for the Education of Colored Youth in Washington, D.C., and by 1869 she was teaching at Howard University. There she studied law, receiving her degree in 1872. Her admission that year to the District of Columbia bar made her the first woman admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and the first black woman certified as a lawyer in the United States." https://www.britannica.com/biography/Charlotte-E-Ray
Day 11: Eric Holder. Jr.
"In 2009, Eric Holder became the first black Attorney General of the United States, having been appointed by President Barack Obama. During Holder’s time as the AG, the country’s crime and incarceration rates were reduced by 10%, a feat not accomplished in the previous 40 years, according to then-President Obama. ... Time magazine recognized Holder as one of the 100 Most Influential People in 2014 and Legal Times crowned him one of the Greatest Washington Lawyers in the Past 30 Years. After his resignation as the Attorney General in 2015, Holder returned to Corporate America as the White Collar Defense and Investigations Partner at Covington and Burling LLP." https://lawyersofcolor.org/eric-holder/
Day 10: "Ketanji Brown Jackson, Associate Justice,
was born in Washington, D.C., on September 14, 1970. She married Patrick Jackson in 1996, and they have two daughters. She received an A.B., magna cm laude, from Harvard-Radcliffe College in 1992, and a J.D., cm laude, from Harvard Law School in 1996. She served as a law clerk for Judge Patti B. Saris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts from 1996 to 1997, Judge Bruce M. Selya of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit from 1997 to 1998, and Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1999 Term. After three years in private practice, she worked as an attorney at the U.S. Sentencing Commission from 2003 to 2005. From 2005 to 2007, she served as an assistant federal public defender in Washington, D.C., and from 2007 to 2010, she was in private practice. She served as a Vice Chair and Commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission from 2010 to 2014. In 2012, President Barack Obama nominated her to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where she served from 2013 to 2021. She was appointed to the Defender Services Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States in 2017, and the Supreme Court Fellows Commission in 2019. President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., appointed her to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2021 and then nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 2022. She took her seat on June 30, 2022." https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/biographies.aspx
Day 8: Mathew Johnson "Named to the Hollywood Reporter’s list of “power lawyers” every year since 2007. In 2008, he became the youngest person named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Power Lawyers in the entertainment industry and has remained on that list every year since. He was also named one of the Root 100 Most Influential African Americans in the United States. The next decade promises to be even more of a success as he’s recent." https://lawyersofcolor.org/matthew-johnson/
Day 8: Johnnie Cochran
"Perhaps the best known African-American lawyer in the modern era is Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Cochran was a Los Angeles-based attorney who was widely renowned for his long list of high-profile and A-list celebrity clients, including Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Jim Brown, Snoop Dogg, and Marian Jones." https://floridabusinesslawfirm.com/blog/5-great-african-american-lawyers-in-history/
Day 6 : "Laurie Robinson is the founder, president, and CEO of Corporate Counsel Women of Color, a non-profit professional organization, that she created in 2004 to advance women of color attorneys and to foster diversity in the legal profession. Mrs. Robinson Haden’s leadership and ability to galvanize have resulted in the growth of the organization’s membership from 10 members to over 5,000 members." https://ccwomenofcolor.org/founder-ceo/
Day 5: "April Reign practiced law for nearly twenty years, honing her talent for public speaking, persuasive writing and effecting policy change, but it wasn’t until she walked away from her legal practice that she found her true passion.
As the creator of the viral hashtag-turned-movement, , April has been challenging the lack of representation of marginalized communities in Hollywood and beyond since 2015. Reign sustains a movement that has resulted in the most permanent systemic change ever seen in the over 80-year history of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her name continues to be synonymous with this historic change, the results of which are reverberating throughout the entertainment industry and will do so for decades to come." https://womensmediacenter.com/shesource/expert/april-reign
Day 4: "Derrick Johnson serves as President and CEO of the NAACP, a title he has held since October of 2017. President Johnson formerly served as vice chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors, as well as state president for the Mississippi State Conference NAACP. A longstanding member and leader of the NAACP, Mr. Johnson has helped guide the Association through a period of re-envisioning and reinvigoration."
Day 3: James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) "A key figure of the Harlem Renaissance, James Weldon Johnson was a man of many talents. Not only was he a distinguished lawyer and diplomat who served as executive secretary at NAACP for a decade, he was also a composer who wrote the lyrics for "Lift Every Voice and Sing," known as the Black national anthem." https://naacp.org/find-resources/history-explained/civil-rights-leaders/james-weldon-johnson
Day 2: Constance Baker Motley (1921-2005) was the first black woman to attend Columbia Law School where she would use her degree to work for the NAACP. "During her career with the NAACP, Motley was involved with many high-profile cases. She played a major role in the legal preparation for the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case and was the first black woman to argue a case before the United States Supreme Court. She was also the lead counsel in the case to allow James Meredith to gain admission to the University of Mississippi in 1962. Besides fighting for the rights of blacks to get into segregated schools, Motley also defended protesters arrested during the Freedom Rides of the early 1960s. She won nine out of ten cases argued before the Supreme Court between 1961 and 1963. .... She was the first woman to be elected into the New York State Senate in 1964 and in 1965 became the first woman to hold the position of Manhattan Borough president. President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Motley to the United States District Court in 1966, making her the first African American woman to hold a federal judgeship." https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/people-african-american-history/motley-constance-baker-1921-2005/
This Black History Month Onu Blsa we are highlighting daily Notable Black Lawyers and Politicians throughout American History. Today we highlight Macon Bolling Allen (1816–1894) "was not only the first African American licensed to practice law in the U.S., but he was also the first to hold a judicial post." https://www.thoughtco.com/macon-bolling-allen-biography-45225
ONU BLSA going strong in the Fall of 22’ best of luck with Finals and look forward to 2023 🙂
Thank you to Professor Bales and his wife Tara Bales for hosting BLSA for the second annual dinner. We appreciate the family and ability to connect and have fun as we finish out the semester.
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