Missouri's Black Judicial Pioneers: Leading and Presiding


In this Article, Judge Epps and Jonathan Warren collect and compose an unparalleled amount of information about Missouri’s Black judges from 1922 to the present. Laser-focused on barrier-breaking judges, this Article offers insights about the most well-known Black judges, in addition to details about lesser-known Black judges. According to the authors, the earliest of these judicial pioneers wore the black robe when Blacks had few or no rights under the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution, and when de jure and de facto discrimination reigned in Missouri and throughout the country. The authors’ research shows how Black judges overcame prejudice within the profession. This scholarship illuminates generations of Black Missouri judges who initiated progress within and have left an impactful legacy on the judiciary.


Black Judges, Missouri, Judiciary



Hon. Willie J. Epps, Jr. (United States Courts - Western District of Missouri)
Jonathan M. Warren (McGuireWoods)



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