Macon Bolling Allen
Born: 4th August 1816
Died: 10th October 1894
Birth Place: United States
Known for: First African American licensed to practice law in the U.S. and hold a judicial post.
Allen was the first African American man to become a lawyer.
He was the first African American Justice of the Peace.
Allen opened several law offices during his lifetime.
Macon Bolling Allen is believed to be the first African American man to become a lawyer. Born in Indiana, Allen’s early application to study law was rejected because he was African American. He moved to Portland to study law while working as a law clerk.
When the time came for him to take his exams, he had to walk fifty miles to Boston to do so. Nevertheless, he passed them in 1846 to become the first licensed Black lawyer in the U.S.
Right to work
Despite having all the qualifications, Allen could not find work because white people were reluctant to hire a Black lawyer, and there were not enough Black people where he lived to keep him in business. Allen moved to Boston and opened his own office, which became the first African American law office in the U.S. at the time. He earned a modest income, mainly because of his race, but he decided to let nothing stand in his way of success. In 1848, he became the first African American Justice of the Peace.
After the American Civil War, Allen relocated to Charleston and again opened a law office. His interest in politics also made him an active member of the Republican Party.
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