It’s Black History Month, and down at the D.C. Superior Court’s small-claims branch, photographs of nine notable African-Americans grace the records-room wall:

  • Macon B. Allen, first licensed black lawyer (1845)
  • Charlotte Ray, first black female lawyer, and first woman admitted to the D.C. Bar (1872)
  • Bass Reeves, first black U.S. deputy marshal west of the Mississippi (1875)
  • Samuel J. Battle, first black patrolman in New York (1911)
  • Charles Hamilton Houston, first black editor on the Harvard Law Review (1922)
  • Jane Matilda Bolin, first black woman to graduate from Yale Law School (1931) and receive a judicial appointment (1939)
  • William Henry Hastie, first black federal magistrate (1937)
  • Thurgood Marshall, first black Supreme Court justice (1967), and…
  • Barack Obama, first black president of the Harvard Law Review (1990)