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Cecil Poole was dedicated to the pursuit of justice. Born in 1914 in Birmingham, Alabama, Poole was raised in Pittsburgh, and earned his bachelor and law degrees from the University of Michigan. In 1939, he also earned a master's degree from Harvard Law School when few people, black or white, achieved that goal. Although he passed the Pennsylvania bar exam in 1940, he was denied membership in the American Bar Association because of his race. Nevertheless, Cecil Poole succeeded in the face of many obstacles.

He became an assistant district attorney in San Francisco. California Governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown appointed him Legal Affairs and Clemency Secretary. President John F. Kennedy made him the first African American U.S. Attorney in the continental United States. He was the first African American on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and he capped his career by serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Cecil Poole’s life is a model, especially for today’s young people to emulate. As part of the Judge Cecil Poole Biography Project, a book has been published and is available in both a printed version and as an audiobook download. See Our Publications for more information.

Cecil Poole: A Life In The Law

Click here to order a printed copy or to download the free audiobook.

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