On Today’s Date in 1845, the First Black American to Pass Bar Exam Became an Attorney in Massachusetts

0 Posted by - May 3, 2021 - LATEST POSTS, On This Date

By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: Twitter/The Simon Law Firm

According to the Massachusetts Historical Society, Macon B. Allen (pictured) is believed to be the first African American to become a lawyer, to ever argue before a jury, and hold a judicial position in the United States.

BlackFacts.com claims that Allen passed the bar exam in Worchester, Massachusetts on May 3, 1845. Allen later became a Massachusetts Justice of the Peace in 1847. He moved to South Carolina after the American Civil War to practice law. Allen was elected as a judge in 1873 and again in 1876. Following the Reconstruction Era, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he continued practicing law.

Allen and his wife, Emma Levy, had six children while living in the Boston area. Two died in childhood. The family spent some of their Massachusetts years in the city of Dedham, where a deed shows property owned by “Emma L. Allen…wife of Macon B. Allen.” After moving to South Carolina, Allen and Emma had another child. Emma died in 1870, along with another of the couple’s children.

Allen married his second wife, Hannah Weston, at some point before 1880. He died in Washington D.C. in October 1894 at the age of 78.

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