Jessie Locker was a prominent attorney, politician, and community leader. He was the second African American appointed as United States Ambassador when he was sent to Liberia. Locker also was the first African American to serve multiple (6) terms on the Cincinnati City Council.
Locker was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on May 31, 1891 to Laban and Sarah Elizabeth Locker. His father, a pastor, was the first black minister in Ohio to be ordained in the Christian Church.
After graduating as class Valedictorian from College Hill High School, Locker traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend Howard University. He received his law degree from Howard University in 1915. Shortly thereafter, in 1919, Locker returned to Cincinnati and began his law practice. He took a night job as a janitor until he acquired enough clientele.
Locker spent nearly 35 years practicing law in Cincinnati. He also served as a member of the Management Committee of a local Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) branch. He was also a co-founder of the Negro Sightless Society of Ohio, established in 1930 to provide services, including reading in braille, to blind members of the black community.
Locker who was a member of the Republican Party, became the first African American to be elected to the Cincinnati City Council in 1941, serving for nearly 12 years. He was elected President of the Council in 1951.
In 1953, Locker accepted President Dwight Eisenhower’s nomination to become U.S. Ambassador to Liberia. Two years later while at his post in Liberia, Locker suffered a stroke on April 4, 1955, he passed away 6 days later at the age of 64.