From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

African American Lawyers/Attorneys, Kentucky, 1880-1940: Court Cases

(start date: 1880  -  end date: 1940) 

SELECTED LISTING: court cases handled by African American lawyers in and from Kentucky, from 1880-1940.

Lawyer Nathaniel Harper, representing Annie Finney in the case against Dr. James McCarthy, of the Louisville Medical College, who committed an outrage upon her person. “The New Era,” Knoxville Daily Chronicle, 02/04/1872, front page. (1872)

R. C. O. Benjamin was the assistant lawyer with Charles T. Hanson, Esq. in Bourbon County, in Commonwealth v Robert Nelson case. “Colored Lawyer Coming to Lexington,” Lexington Daily Press, 12/20/1885, p.2, col.2. (1885)

Attending to business before the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Mr. J. A. Chiles, a colored lawyer, from Lexington ..., The Frankfort Roundabout, 02/28/1891, p.7, col.2. (1891)"

Lawyer Cowan denounced. He is accused in open court of disreputable practices." The Evening World, 03/12/1894, p.3. (1894)

Jeffards v. Brooklyn Heights R. Co. Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department. March 27, 1900. Alfred C. Cowan for respondent. The New York State Supplement v. 63 [New York State Reporter, v.97], April 5-May 3, 1900, pp.530-531. (1900)

R. C. O. Benjamin was the lawyer for Tallow Dick Combs, one of the ten men charged with complicity in the murder of William Goebel. “Tallow Dick,” Leader, 08/06/1900, p.8, col.5. (1900)

Lawyer Robert N. Lander was George Holland's defense attorney in the murder case of a white man who was never identified. "George Holland" in A History of Christian County, Kentucky, from oxcart to airplane, by Charles M. Meacham, Chapter XI. [online] ~ Hopkinsville, KY. (1903)

Dr. C. Leo Smith's case with the State Dental Board was won. The case was handled by lawyers J. A. Chiles and A. S. White.  “Colored Circles,” Leader, 07/22/1903, p.6. col.5. (1903)

Lawyer Louis A. Lavell defending himself in a school dispute. “Negro Schools,” Leader, 07/26/1903, p.2, col.4. (1903)

Moses Jones was the lawyer for Jennie Christy and her sister Ida Frazier in their lawsuit for $5,000 damages for the lynching of their brother Richard Dixon in Springfield, KY. “Damages,” Leader, 04/21/1904, p.3, col.2. (1904)

"Three Suits," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 08/19/1905, front page. Lawyer Robert N. Lander handled three divorce requests in Hopkinsville, KY. (1905)

Judge Maloney fined a white woman, Miss Anna P. Thomas, for refusing to be cross-examined by a Negro lawyer. The Hickman Courier, 10/12/1906, p.1. “Some Commendatory Spunk Displayed by Lady,” The Hickman Courier, 10/12/1906, p.2. (1906)

The Ohio Law Bulletin, v.52. Supreme Court Proceedings. 10879. ... and John W. Beam: defendant M. A. Hougland, all of Lima. p.472, column 2. (1907)

Lawyer Graham Deuwell filed a $50 discrimination lawsuit against a confectioner in Columbus, OH. Crisis, v.6,no.4, August 1913, p.168. (1913)

Ethel Prioleau v. Board of Playground and Recreational Commissioners. Los Angeles, CA, 1931. Activist Betty Hill filed suit on Ethel Prioleau's behalf when Prioleau's daughter was denied entrance to the Olympic Park swimming pool on "whites only" day. Hill's attorneys were Hugh MacBeth and Eugene C. Jennings, pro bono. Case led to the desegregation of all City of Los Angeles swimming pools. (1931)

Attorney Theodore M. Berry, Sr. was the Official NAACP Observer at the trial of Luke Murray who was taken from the Ironton, OH jail and lynched. "Demand Ohio Governor instruct Attorney General Prosecute Ironton Lynchers," Negro Star, 08/19/1932, p.2. (1932)

Lawyer Charles E. Tucker assisted lawyer Charles W. Anderson, Jr. in successfully defending Leroy Parker in the rape case of 12-year-old Marie Lewis. Both Parker and Lewis were African American. "Trial for rape causes excitement in Louisville," Washington Tribune, 05/24/1934, p.2. (1934)

People v. Henderson. Willis O. Tyler and Sylvester Isonberg for Appellant. [Crim. No. 3853. In Bank. August 1, 1935.] Supreme Court of California. (1935)

Attorney Theodore M. Berry, Sr. represented several Cincinnati families who claimed to be heirs of Louise M. LaRaide. "Race of deceased to determine disposal of $400,000 fortune," Plaindealer (Kansas), 12/09/1938, p.1. (1938)

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Lawyers/Attorneys, Kentucky, 1880-1940: Court Cases,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 22, 2024,

Last modified: 2019-03-09 02:22:36