Shequeena McKenzie made history in 2021 by becoming the city of McComb’s first African-American judge. Hailing from McComb, she relocated to Jackson, where she practiced law part-time, to make a change.
She told WJTV, “I went to law because I did not want to talk about what wasn’t being done. I did not want to sit there and dwell on the negativity. I asked myself what I could do to help out the world.”
She said that seeing U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris gave her hope and she acknowledged her as her inspiration.
It was beyond her wildest dreams when McKenzie took the oath of office. The trailblazer was sworn in at the age of 28.
She expressed, “It was a surreal moment because I work hard, I have faith. The next thing you know, you start reaping the benefits of the things you have invested into. It was definitely a full-circle moment for me.”
McKenzie knew she wanted to practice law to uphold justice and effect change, even as a young child. Data shows that only five percent of lawyers are Black, thus, people like McKenzie who pursue law have helped pave the way for other Black women in the field.
Recently, McKenzie also assumed the role of judge in the City of Magnolia. Per another research, only 70 of the 3,843 people who have ever served as federal judges in the United States (fewer than 2%) have been Black women. Of the 1,088 sitting judges on federal district courts, there were 48 Black women as of July 1, 2022, this data also states.
McKenzie said she wants to use her experience to inspire other young ladies as well. “Sometimes you will enter the room and no one will look like you. Do not let that overcome your abilities. You belong in that room. You deserve to be in that room. It is a mindset you have to get. Once you get that mindset, do not let anyone stop you.”
McKenzie received her doctorate in jurisprudence from Mississippi College School of Law in 2018, having completed her studies in Political Science with a Human Rights minor at the University of Southern Mississippi, according to IDS News.
Before being appointed a judge, she worked as a lawyer for almost three years.