In this Article, Judge Epps amasses and orchestrates an unprecedented amount of information about Missouri’s Black lawyers from 1871 to 2021. As Missouri marks its bicentennial, and the sesquicentennial of the first Black lawyer admitted to practice here, this Article offers analysis and insights about the most well-known Black lawyers, including new details on many previously unknown Black lawyers. According to Judge Epps, the earliest of these legal pioneers courageously practiced law when Blacks had few or no rights under the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution, and de jure and de facto discrimination reigned in Missouri. His research shows how Black attorneys fought prejudice within the profession even as they represented Black clients before a sometimes hostile judiciary. Judge Epps’s scholarship also spotlights a generation of Missouri Black lawyers who shattered ceilings, sparking progress within the profession. This Article is the essential resource to understand the stony road Blacks have trod, the transformation of civil rights law, and the challenges ahead.
Willie J. Epps Jr.,
Black Lawyers of Missouri: 150 Years of Progress and Promise,
86 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol86/iss1/5