Celebrating Black History

“Celebrating Black History” is the newest addition to the Supreme Court’s website. The space is a centralized location that highlights the impact of African American lawyers, judges, and others in Ohio and beyond. Along with chronicling prominent Black figures and stories that have shaped the state’s legal past and present, the webpage is a resource to keep alive the conversation about current and historical race related issues.

Prejudice and Progress

A documentary series exploring racial injustice and the legal journeys of African Americans in Ohio.

Illustration of an African American woman in a blue dress standing in front of a jury
Daisy Perkins
The Story of Daisy Perkins
Feb. 24, 2022

Daisy Perkins was the first Black woman to practice law in Ohio, representing criminal defendants in Columbus throughout the 1920's, until  charges of perjury forced her out of the legal profession and sent her to prison.

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Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Ronald Adrine (Ret.)
Crying Out for Answers
Aug. 4, 2021

Retired Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Ronald Adrine reflects on his experience as a young lawyer serving as a committee investigator for the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations that was formed to investigate the killings of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy.

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Black and white image of an African American man from the 1800s
Rep. Benjamin Arnett
Knock the Monster in the Head
Feb. 24, 2021

The story of pioneering state Rep. Benjamin Arnett and his battle against the “Ohio Black Laws,” a Northern version of the South’s Jim Crow statutes that denied free Black Americans their full rights in society.

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Ohio On Trial

A series exploring landmark and significant Ohio court cases.

Black and white image of a police mug shot of an African American woman from the 1950s
Dollree "Dolly" Mapp
Mapp v. Ohio
Nov. 16, 2020

Once upon a time in Cleveland, a vengeful crime boss, an aggressive police detective, and a stubborn young Shaker Heights woman inadvertently changed American justice forever.

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Supreme Court Black History Month Celebrations

The Supreme Court of Ohio’s annual recognition and celebration of the extraordinary contributions of African Americans to the history of Ohio and the United States.

Image of Ohio Supreme Court Justice Melody Stewart in the courtroom of the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center
Justice Melody Stewart
The Harmony of Music and the Law
Feb. 10, 2020

Justice Melody Stewart, the first African American woman elected to the Supreme Court of Ohio, delivered an insightful presentation on how her knowledge of law and music often intertwine, and how she uses her musical background to aid her legal work.

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Image of Dr. Frederic Bertley speaking in the courtroom of the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center
Dr. Frederic Bertley
Science and Your Future in a Diverse Society
Feb. 25, 2019

Dr. Frederic Bertley, CEO of COSI Columbus, shared his passion for improving the quality of science education and his visionary ideas about appreciating the science that is all around us.

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Image of former Ohio State University running back Maurice Clarett speaking in the courtroom of the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center
Maurice Clarett
Setting Targets for Your Life
Feb. 26, 2018

Former Ohio State University running back Maurice Clarett shared about his success on the football field, struggle with drugs and alcohol, self-engineered redemption, and his emergence as a leader in his hometown of Youngstown.

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Image of former Ohio State University running back Maurice Clarett speaking in the courtroom of the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center
Dr. Clarence G. Newsome
Freedom and the Rule of Law
Feb. 27, 2017

Dr. Clarence Newsome, Ph.D., President of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati from 2013-2017, spoke about his experience and academic work in African American history and culture, as well as religious history.

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Image of former Columbus mayor Michael B. Coleman speaking in the courtroom of the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center
Michael B. Coleman
Using Your Law Degree to Lead, Inspire, and Shape Public Policy
Feb. 17, 2016

Michael Coleman shared remarks centered on how he used his law degree to lead, inspire, and shape public policy during his tenure as Mayor of Columbus from 2000 to 2015.

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Akua Sefa, Imnet Arega, Ares Harper & Gabriel Jackson
Law & Leadership Institute Students
Feb. 25, 2015

Students from the Law & Leadership Institute engaged in a panel discussion about the quote, “Always stand up for what is right, even if it means you have to stand alone.”

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Curtis J. Moody
Curtis Moody, CEO/President, Principal-in-Charge of Design, Moody Nolan, Inc.
Feb. 25, 2014

Renowned Columbus architect Curtis Moody discussed the continued need for legislative initiatives, such as affirmative action, to ensure racial inclusion and diversity in business. Moody, who is the president and CEO of the firm Moody-Nolan, has designed or remodeled buildings across the country, including Value City Arena and the Ohio Union in Columbus. He assisted in the renovation of the Thomas Moyer Justice Center in 2004.

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Janet E. Jackson
Janet E. Jackson, Former President and CEO, United Way of Columbus
Feb. 5, 2013

Janet E. Jackson, C.E.O. and President of the United Way of Central Ohio and former Franklin County judge shared the importance of improving diversity on the bench and bar, and the changes she witnessed in the years from when she first received her law degree to the present-day.

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Image of former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown
Yvette McGee Brown
Yvette McGee Brown, Former Justice, Supreme Court of Ohio
Feb. 15, 2011

Justice Yvette McGee Brown, Ohio's first female African American Justice, spoke of her background, personal philosophy, and heroes.

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Image of an African American man wearing a blue dress military uniform speaking from behind a podium
Edward Morast
Legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen
Feb. 17, 2010

U.S. Military Veterans and artist Robert Tanner Sr. discussed the impact and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American military airmen.

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Image of Robert M. Duncan speaking to a group of people from behind a podium
Robert M. Duncan
Robert M. Duncan, Former Justice, Supreme Court of Ohio; Judge, U.S. District Court for Southern Ohio
Feb. 19, 2009

Federal Judge Robert Duncan spoke of his groundbreaking career, important events and people that impacted Black History in Ohio, and his friendship with Chief Justice Thomas Moyer. He also recounted his personal experiences of growing up in segregated times and the incredible changes he witnessed in his lifetime. Judge Duncan was the first African American elected to judicial office in Franklin County, the first to serve on the Supreme Court of Ohio, the first to win a seat in a statewide Ohio election, the first to serve on the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, and the first to be appointed to the federal bench in Ohio.

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Forum on the Law Lecture Series

The Forum on the Law was established in 2009 by the late Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer as an ongoing lecture series. Events feature regional or national speakers who address contemporary or historic legal topics.

Image of Avery Friedman speaking from behind a podium in the courtroom of the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center
Avery Friedman
The Civil Rights Act of 1866
Oct. 18, 2016

Appreciation of the long journey of American civil rights law is vital to understanding how our nation’s aspirations of liberty and freedom have evolved. 2016 marked the 150th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which remains a cornerstone of human rights enforcement. Noted civil rights attorney Avery Friedman discusses the impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and its importance in ensuring fairness and equal opportunity in American life.

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Image of Wil Haygood speaking from behind a podium in the courtroom of the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center
Wil Haygood
Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination that Changed America
Oct. 20, 2015

Wil Haygood discusses his book “Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination that Changed America.” Haygood’s book recounts the stop-at-nothing efforts by a bloc of Southern senators to deny Marshall’s confirmation as the first African American justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Image of Sharon Davies speaking from behind a podium in the courtroom of the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center
Sharon Davies
Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race, and Religion in America
April 27, 2010

Sharon Davies, the John C. Elam/Vorys Sater Distinguished Profession of Law at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, discusses her book "Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race and Religion in America" about a revenge killing of a priest and the resulting sensational trial in Birmingham, Ala., in 1921.

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