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Sun, 07.16.1899

Eunice Carter, Prosecutor born

Eunice Carter, Getty Images

Eunice Hunton Carter was born on this date in 1899. She was a Black lawyer and the first Black woman to be a district attorney in the state of New York.

She was born in Atlanta, the daughter of William and Addie Carter. She attended Smith College in North Hampton, Massachusetts, and graduated cum laude with both a Bachelors and Masters degrees, in 1921. Ten years later she received her law degree from Fordham Law School and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1934.  After a short time in private practice, she began working in the district attorney’s office handling low-level criminal prosecutions.

While working with several prostitution cases, she suspected a link with the underworld. She noticed the defendants using the same stories, being represented by the same law firms, and if fined the same bondsmen would appear.  Based largely on Carter’s research, special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey ordered a major raid on about eight whorehouses, providing her with enough details to convict the top Mafia leader in New York.  Carter remained with Dewey’s Special Sessions Bureau where she supervised more than 14,000 criminal cases each year. She left the district attorney's office in 1945 and returned to private practice.

Her other professional achievements included being a consultant to the United Nations and International Council of Women; vice president of the National Council of Women U.S. YWCA; a member of the U.S. National Council of Negro Women; and a member of the American Association of University Women. She married Leslie C. Carter and they had one son. Eunice Carter died January 25, 1970.

Reference:
Black Women in America An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York
ISBN 0-926019-61-9

To Become a Lawyer

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