A judicial pioneer will be honored with an enduring symbol at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law on Thursday, November 29. A bust of Perry B. Jackson, Ohio's first African American judge, will be unveiled at 5:30 p.m. in the Davis Room of the Judge Ben C. Green Law Library at the School of Law, 11075 East Blvd., Cleveland.
Jackson, a Zanesville, Ohio, native, graduated from Adelbert College in 1919 and earned his law degree from Western Reserve University School of Law in 1922.
The civil rights proponent served the Ohio courts for over four decades. Beginning his political career in 1928, Jackson paved the way for many aspiring African American lawyers and judges. Famously, Jackson was meeting with a Cuyahoga County Bar Association committee in the Crystal Room of the Hollenden Hotel on June 17, 1935, when he was refused service. Other bar members questioned the manager regarding this incident and learned that it was hotel policy to refuse service to African Americans. Jackson took the hotel to court, winning the lawsuit and damages worth $350.
The bar association met elsewhere from then on.
First appointed to a bench seat in 1942 as a municipal judge, Jackson won a six-year term in 1945 and was reelected in 1951 and 1957. He moved onto the Common Pleas Court in 1960 and retired from the bench in 1973. He remained active and influential as a visiting judge until his death in 1986.
Following graduation, he passed the bar and began practicing law while also working his way up to editor of the Cleveland Call, leaving his post when the paper merged with the Cleveland Post to become the Call and Post.
Jackson was elected to the Ohio General Assembly in 1928 and was responsible for the state's adoption of voter registration forms that did not make reference to race or color. He also helped defeat legislation that would have prohibited African American chapters of fraternal organizations such as the Masons from using the organization's name or insignia. During his early career in public service he also was assistant police prosecutor and secretary to the director of public utilities. Additionally, he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention on several occasions.See related story.
For more information, contact Jason Tirotta, 216-368-6890.
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