They were courageous individuals who used the law to change the course of American history in the midst of racial hatred and intolerance at the time.
Right from 1842, William Henry Johnson, born today in 1811, opened the door for many other black attorneys after he became the first African American to practice law in the U.S.
Qualifying for the bar in 1842, he tried criminal and civil cases and was noted for his courtroom skills. These would influence the next crop of black lawyers who would shake the American system at a time when law firms were not increasingly diverse as today.
Though some of them moved towards politics, they are mostly remembered for their excellence in the courtrooms as they contributed to developing policies and laws that have been beneficial to citizens to date.
As the world celebrates the ideals of first African-American lawyer, Johnson, today, here are 4 other influential black lawyers who have shaped America over time: