Wednesday, September 5, 2012

On September 5

Cassandra Maxwell Birnie
On this day in ...
... 1974, Jet carried a notice of the recent death of Cassandra Maxwell Birnie, 64, whom the magazine identified as a prominent Philadelphia attorney. Born in Orangeburg, South Carolina, the daughter of a successful grocer, she studied at Spelman College in Atlanta, as well as Howard University and Howard's School of Law in Washington, D.C. She became the 1st African American woman to gain admission to the South Carolina bar, taught law at South Carolina State University before moving with her husband to Atlanta and opening a law practice. As described at this website, she
'found a plethora of legal activity ranging from battles for residential rights to domestic issues. She also assisted Thurgood Marshall with his NAACP work in the formative years of the Civil Rights Movement. More than competent as a strategist, her input was invaluable in helping draft case law that would end the segregation of public facilities in the South.'
Moving to Philadelphia in the early '60s, she continued her activism on behalf of civil rights. She won the Republic nomination to state judicial office, but in the general election lost to her Democratic rival.

(Prior September 5 posts are here, here, here, here, and here.)

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