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William A. McClain
*William McClain was born on this date in 1913. He was a Black lawyer and Judge.
From Springfield, Ohio, William Andrew McClain was son of Frank and Blanche McClain. He was a 1930 graduate of Springfield High School in he earned his A.B. degree at Wittenberg University in 1934 and his J.D. degree from the University of Michigan in 1937. McClain received L.L.D. degrees from Wilberforce University and the University of Cincinnati in 1963 and 1971, respectively.
Probably best known as Cincinnati's City Solicitor (March 1963-June 1972), he was the first Black in the United States to achieve such a high municipal legal post. He continued his legal career both in private practice, as a lecturer, and as a judge, first in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas (1975-1976), then in the Municipal Court of Hamilton County (1976-1980).
Judge McClain participated to a very great degree in his undergraduate and graduate schools. He served as a board member and as President of the Wittenberg Alumni Association. He was a member of the Committee of Visitors for the University of Michigan Law School. McClain's civic interests were wide ranging and included serving as a trustee of the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati. He also had a special interest in his national fraternity and in Scottish Rite Masonry.
He also was the National President (Grand Sire Archon) of the Alpha Delta Boule, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. The Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity began in 1904 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to bring together in a common bond of fraternal union a group of Black business and professional men who had achieved a college degree and who had distinguished themselves in careers and/or civic affairs. McClain also was elevated to the 33rd degree of masonry and became Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ohio. He spearheaded great expansion within the fraternal order and founded the Progressive Black Masonry Movement within the Masons and the Order of Eastern Star.
William McClain lived his later years in tranquilly with his niece and nephew, Winona and Major McNeil. Although he was not actively practicing law, he still enjoyed occasional debates, frequent telephone conversations with his good friend, the Honorable Damon Keith, visits from protégées and church members, reading correspondence and interacting with family members. He also enjoyed attending church and monthly Boulé meetings with his nephew. Celebrating his 100th birthday was a momentous highlight in his life. He valued and cherished the unique distinction of being a centenarian‖. William McClain died on February 4, 2014.
Museum of Cincinnati