Eunice Roberta Hunton Carter was one of New York’s first African American lawyers, and one of the first black female prosecutors in the United States.
Carter was born in Atlanta in 1899, to parents who were activist. She started her professional life working as a social worker, practicing in the New York and New Jersey areas for several years. After the birth of her son, she began studying law at Fordham University, and in 1934, she became the first black woman to pass the New York State Bar.
In 1935, Carter was appointed to study certain situations in Harlem by New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. However, Carter’s street smarts and work as a Women’s Court prosecutor led to her hiring as an assistant district attorney.
Carter’s investigative work showed that when prostitutes were arrested, they all had the same lawyers, bondsmen, and alibis, this led to her theorize that prostitution was an organized racket. Her investigation revealed that mob figures were providing these services to the prostitutes in exchange for 50 percent of their take, which brought in millions. Carter’s discoveries led to the raids on 80 brothels, arresting 100 prostitutes.