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Sun, 01.02.1887

Wendell Green, Lawyer and Judge born

Wendell Green

*Wendell Green was born on this date in 1887. He was a Black Lawyer and Judge.

Wendell Elbert Green was born in Topeka, Kansas; his father was a native of Bermuda. Green graduated from the University of Kansas in 1908 with a degree in chemistry. In 1910, he worked as a druggist in a St. Joseph, Missouri, drug store. He married Lorraine Richardson in 1912 in Harrisonville, Missouri, just south of Kansas City.

The Greens moved to Chicago in the mid-1910s for Wendell to study law at the University of Chicago. There he met Earl B. Dickerson, and the two received their L.L.B. degrees at the same time and received their law licenses on the same day, December 10, 1920. The two also briefly shared a law office after becoming lawyers. Green was a defense attorney in the 1920s. He was also active in the Cook County Bar Association. In 1925, he helped to form the National Bar Association and became its first secretary. In 1930, Green became an assistant public defender for Cook County and served six years on the Chicago Civil Service Commission.

In the 1940s, Green served as president of the board of trustees for Provident Hospital, the African American hospital founded a half-century earlier by Dr. Daniel Hale Williams. Future Illinois attorney and First Lady Michelle Obama was born at Provident. In 1942, Green was a Cook County Municipal Court judge, becoming the first African American to become a judge in Illinois. In 1950, Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson appointed him a circuit court judge, again becoming the first African American to ascend to the circuit court.

Judge Green was elected to a full term in 1951 and reelected in 1957. Judge Green worked primarily in family court and argued for a training school staffed with psychologists and case workers to help delinquent youths. Green's wife, Lorraine, was elected to the Chicago School Board in 1958 and served until 1969, when she passed away. In the summer of 1959, Judge Wendell Elbert Green died on August 24, 1959.

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