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Tue, 09.29.1863

Cornelius Fitzgerald, Lawyer, Community Activist born

Cornelius Fitzgerald, a Black lawyer, was born on this date in 1863.

He was from Jonesboro, Tennessee, one of six sons of Joseph M. Fitzgerald and Mary A. (Ford) Fitzgerald. He attended Fisk University; graduated from Berea College; Howard University School of Law, LL. B. After graduation from Berea, Fitzgerald spent time in Kansas and the then Indian Territory of Oklahoma working for the government.  He then moved to Washington, D.C. to accept a federal appointment. He completed his law degree in 1892 at Howard University and was admitted to the bar the following year.

Unable to establish a practice in Tennessee, he opened a law practice in Baltimore. Fitzgerald met and married Gertrude Smith in 1897. The couple had one son, John McFarland Fitzgerald.

He practiced law in Baltimore for 42 years, focusing on estate and real estate law.  Fitzgerald was a member of the Madison Street Presbyterian Church and the Republican Party.  He was a member of the Colored Business Men's Exchange and numerous fraternal organizations such as the Order of Good Hope, the Order of Moses, and the Masons (attaining the 33rd degree). He was president of the board of trustees of (Black-owned) Providence Hospital in Baltimore.

He was also involved in the Big Brother Movement and was a major donor to the Maryland Home for the Friendless as well as the YMCA. Cornelius Fitzgerald died in 1935.

To Become a Lawyer


Black Americans in the Roosevelt era: liberalism and race
by John B Kirby
Type: English : Book : Non-fiction
Publisher: Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, ©1980.
ISBN: 0870492799

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