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Macon B. Allen Was the First African American to Become a Lawyer

Macon Bolling Allen, first Black lawyer in America

Macon Bolling Allen had a long journey, but he went far. Allen was born free in 1816. He worked as a schoolteacher after learning to read and write, but later moved to Portland Maine. While working for General Samuel Fressenden in Portland, Allen was able to study law. He hoped to join the Maine Bar Association, but the organization originally rejected him since at the time black people were not considered citizens.
Despite this setback, Allen bypassed the Association by taking a bar examination, which he passed on July 3, 1844. With this, he became the first licensed Black attorney in the United States. He faced racism and distrust along the way, but being good at what he did, Allen took a position as Justice of the Peace in Middlesex County in Massachusetts.

Allen had a number of other successes after the Civil War. He successfully opened a law office with two other black men. He was appointed a judge on the Inferior Court of Charleston. He also became a probate judge in South Carolina. Finally, he became a lawyer with the Land and Improvement Association in Washington D.C.

Thanks to his intelligence and determination, he became an influential member of the United States judicial system and broke a number of records by becoming the first black person to hold his respective offices.