Arkansas Black Lawyers
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Benjamin F. (“B. Frank”) Adair was born in Arkansas in 1853, was literate, and earned his living as a lawyer in Woodruff County in 1880. In 1880, the Census reported him as 27 years of age and married to Dosie, with one child.  In 1891, he served as state representative from Pulaski County in the Arkansas General Assembly. Unusual for his time, he was a Democrat. More...

Lide Alexander was listed as an attorney in the 1895-96 Little Rock (Pulaski County, Arkansas) City Directory. A “Ledie” Alexander is listed as having died in Pulaski County on June 22, 1922. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

W. R. Anthony was reported to be an attorney in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Arkansas about 1891. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

Joseph Atkins was admitted to practice before the state supreme court on July 8, 1935. At that time, he was living in Camden (Ouachita County), Arkansas. In 1938, he was listed as a member of the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black lawyers group.  He was born April 12, 1904, location unknown, and his last known residence was in Camden, Arkansas, in January 1971.  Nothing more is known about him. Sources...

Henry Avant was listed as an attorney in the Helena (Phillips County, Arkansas) City Directory during the period 1917-1924. He was admitted to practice by the state supreme court on February 7, 1921. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

Julian Talbot Bailey was born March 22, 1859, near Barnett, Warren County, Ga. He attended Howard University, purportedly completing an M.A. degree. After teaching for a time in North Carolina, Bailey moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County, Arkansas) in 1884, where he taught at Philander Smith University, Mississippi State Normal College (1884-85) and Bethel University (where he was President during 1886-87). At the same time, he was engaged in newspaper work as editor of the Arkansas Herald and Mansion newspapers. He also began publishing the Little Rock Sun in 1885. More...

Conway Barbour was reported born in Virginia about 1820.  He also was a steamboat cabin attendant in Louisville, Kentucky, in the 1840s.  He appears in the 1860 Census in Madison County, Illinois, and in Cleveland, Ohio, with different wives and families, both families originally from Kentucky.  Although probably born a slave, he apparently was a free man before the late 1850s, when he operated a hotel/restaurant in Alton, Illinois. More... 

Thomas Bass was listed as an attorney in the 1878 Hot Springs (Garland County, Arkansas) City Directory. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

Peter Beasley came to Arkansas from Mississippi, where he attended Tougaloo College, and was listed as an attorney in the 1909 Helena (Phillips County, Arkansas) City Directory (indicating a Circuit Court admission). He was admitted to practice in the Pulaski County circuit court on December 23, 1910. More ...

Joseph Robert (J.R.) Booker was born in Helena (Phillips County), Arkansas, on September 19, 1893, and admitted to practice before the state supreme court on June 30, 1919. He was one of eight children born to Joseph A. Booker, a civil rights activist minister and educator, and Mary J. (Carver) Booker. Booker received a B.A. from Arkansas Baptist College in 1914, and obtained his legal education at Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois), graduating in 1917. He then returned to Little Rock (Pulaski County), Arkansas, to practice law. More ...

William A. Booker born in Arkansas in 1900 and was brother to attorney J.R. Booker. He was admitted to practice before the state supreme court on July 13, 1925. He was an early member of the first Arkansas branch of the NAACP in Little Rock in 1926. In 1930, when the brothers were practicing as Booker & Booker in Little Rock (Pulaski County), they joined with attorneys Scipio Jones and J.A. Hibbler in suing the Little Rock Democratic Central Committee on behalf of the Arkansas Negro Democratic Association for the right to vote in Democratic primaries. More...

Robert S. Bowers came to Arkansas from Louisiana, where he was born about 1858. He was admitted to practice before the Arkansas state supreme court on October 21, 1907, and apparently lived and practiced in Malvern (Hot Springs County), Arkansas, at that time. Bowers must have been admitted earlier by the local circuit court, because in 1901, he was listed as a member of the Black lawyers organization – the Wonder State Bar Association. In 1910, he was married to Lila, who brought him a stepdaughter, Lady L. Wardell, and owned his own home. It is not known when he died. Sources...

Joseph H. Bradford was born in Tennessee about 1854.  Described as a teacher and lawyer, he served in the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1885, representing Mississippi county. Sources...

J(ack) B. Brown was identified as an attorney in articles appearing in the Prescott (Arkansas) Daily News.  The articles had originated in Little Rock and referred to the death of Mr. Brown at the hands of Sam Collins (a tailor) when he was discovered crawling through the window of Collins home.  Brown was identified as “Jack the Shooter,” who had terrorized the city for several months by burglaries and attacks on women.  During the crime spree, Brown allegedly killed a babe in arms and shot several others.  No other information as to his employment or practice as an attorney was included in the articles.  Since he was killed, there was no trial, and the man who killed Brown was given a medal by citizens, according to one article.  Nothing more is known about him. Sources...

Lewis Jenks Brown was born on January 16, 1855 in Little Rock (Pulaski County), Arkansas, the son of Jenks and Caroline Frances (Parker) Brown. He attended public schools in Cincinnati and Little Rock, and took special courses in stenography, typewriting and modern languages in 1878. Brown is listed as a clerk in the U.S. Land Office in 1878 and a teacher in Little Rock between 1875 and 1887. In 1887, he was president of the Pulaski County Teachers’ Association. Before obtaining his legal education, he was president of the Institute of Science and Mental Improvement and editor of the Arkansas Mansion during 1880-84. Brown also was vice-president and editor of the People’s Herald in 1900. He attended Howard University Law School, graduating in 1886. Brown was admitted to the practice of law in Arkansas by the circuit court in 1886 and by the state supreme court on May 15, 1887. He was admitted to the U.S. District Court in 1889. More ...

Alexander L. Burnett was born in Arkansas or Mississippi in 1858. He was educated at Branch Normal College in Pine Bluff and received his legal training at Central Law School in Nashville, Tennessee, apparently returning to practice in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Arkansas, in 1886. More ...

B. G. Clanton was listed as “Ass’t Attt’y General” of the Mosaic Templars of America, Endowment Department, in 1927. Attorney S.A. Jones was “Nat’l Att’y General” and T.J. Price another “Ass’t.” Nothing more is known about him. Sources...

Josiah Clark was born in Georgia in March 1842 and listed in the 1899 Hot Springs (Garland County, Arkansas) City Directory as a practicing lawyer. In 1901, Clark was listed as speaker at a program of the Wonder State Bar Association. He may have gone to Oklahoma after that time, and then returned, as someone with the same name is mentioned in a biography of that period as having moved from Oklahoma to Pine Bluff about 1909. As of 1900, he had a daughter named Floy, born July 1882 in Arkansas. Nothing more is known about him. Sources...

Moses A. Clark came to Arkansas from Germantown, Tennessee, where he was born a slave in 1834 or 1844. He was brought to Helena (Phillips County), Arkansas, in 1856 and was taught barbering. At some point, he left Arkansas and lived in Nashville, Tennessee, and St. Louis, Missouri. He returned to Helena after the Civil War a free man. More...

Walker H. Clark was admitted to practice by the state supreme court on July 13, 1931 and was listed in the 1931 Pine Bluff (Jefferson County, Arkansas) City Directory as an attorney. No other information about him is known. Sources...

Walter F. Clark was listed as an attorney in the 1916 Little Rock (Pulaski County, Arkansas) City Directory. He was admitted by the state supreme court on February 26, 1917. No more is known about him, although a “W.F. Clark” was reported a member of the Jackson County (Missouri) Bar Association in 1930, and may indicate where he went from Little Rock. Sources...

Winfield F. Clark briefly joined attorney J.A. Hibbler in practice in Little Rock (Pulaski County, Arkansas) in 1917. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

William L. Copeland was born in Ohio about 1846.  He served Crittenden County in the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1873 and was re-elected for the 1874-75 term.  He was described as a lawyer, policeman, and county assessor.  He died in 1885.  No other information about him is known. Sources...

L. Clifford Davis was born in Wilton, Arkansas, on October 12, 1924 the son of Augustus and Dora Duckett Davis.  Raised on the family farm, after eighth grade he moved to Little Rock to live with older siblings while he attended Dunbar High School and Philander Smith College.  Following graduation, he applied to Howard University School of Law and was admitted.  After his first year, he attempted to transfer to the University of Arkansas School of Law for the 1946-47 school year.  His efforts led to the University’s decision to integrate its graduate programs voluntarily, although by the time that decision was made, Davis was in his third year at Howard and decided to remain until graduation.  Following graduation in spring 1949, he returned to Arkansas where he passed the bar exam and was admitted to practice on July 4, 1949.  More...

Richard A. Dawson was born in Virginia in 1848, but came to Arkansas from Illinois, where he is said to have been the second Black man admitted to practice. He is reputed to have been admitted to practice in Arkansas by the state supreme court on December 16, 1870, after arriving in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Arkansas, about 1869. In a article in the Arkansas Gazette of February 2, 1873, the newspaper corrects an article written the previous day at Dawson’s behest, stating that Dawson said was had graduated from the law institute of the University of Chicago in the class of 1869-70 and was the first African-American to do so. He obtained his earlier education at Oberlin College (Ohio). More...

Edward D. Dobbins is said to have practiced law in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Arkansas about 1920. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

G. H. Donahue was listed as speaker in a program by the Wonder State Bar Association in 1901. Nothing more is known about him. Sources...

Jacob N. Donohoo was born in Bradley County, Tennessee in December 1854.  In 1880, he was reported living in Hickory Ridge, Phillips County, with wife Mollie E and daughter Nina.  His occupation was farmer. Described as a farmer, lawyer, grocer, editor, bank president, and active in real estate, he was elected to represent Phillips county in the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1877, 1887, 1889, and 1891. In 1900, he was living in Helena, Arkansas, with Mollie, Nina and three younger children, and worked as the editor of a weekly paper. In 1910, he was engaged in real estate transactions. Donohoo was a member of the M.W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Arkansas about 1902.  He died in 1917. Sources...

Oscar M. Farrington was listed in the Little Rock (Pulaski County, Arkansas) city directories between 1908 and 1912.  He also appears in a class list from Howard University School of Law upon receiving an LL.B. degree in 1904.  He died in Little Rock in October 1972.  Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

William Harold Flowers, Sr. was born October 16, 1911, in Stamps (Lafayette County), Arkansas, the son of a businessman (A.W.) and an activist schoolteacher (Beulah Sampson Flowers). He graduated from the Robert H. Terrell Law School in Washington, D.C., and was admitted to practice in Arkansas by the state supreme court on October 21, 1935. He opened his office in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Arkansas, at that time.More ...

J. F. Ford was listed in the 1881-82 Combined Directory of Little Rock (Pulaski County, Arkansas), Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, Eureka Springs & Fort Smith, in the “Lawyers” section. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

W(illiam) Hines Furbush was born in Kentucky about 1839. He served in the 42nd United States Colored Infantry in 1865-66, then emigrated to Liberia. The 1870 census shows him living in St. Francis Township, Phillips County, with wife Susan and two children. It is not clear what he did until 1873, but he must have been considered successful, as he was elected to the state legislature in 1873 to represent Phillips County. During that period, he helped to partition a portion of Phillips County to form Lee County.  He was described a “a bright mulatto, intelligent, and quick to catch a point.  He makes a good talk and wields considerable influence among the colored members [of the legislature].” He also was one of four Black plaintiffs (another was Richard Dawson) in a suit filed by the Black law firm of Wheeler & Gibbs in 1873. They sued a barkeeper for refusing to serve them and were successful. More...

John W. Gaines first appears as an attorney when he is listed as “T.W. Gaines” in the 1901 Arkansas Gazette as a speaker for the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black attorneys group. John Gaines appears under “attorneys” in the Little Rock (Pulaski County, Arkansas) City Directory of 1903. He was admitted by the state supreme court on December 31, 1906 and was probably previously admitted only to the Pulaski County Circuit Court. Gaines was listed as a partner of Scipio Africanus Jones between 1906 and 1908. Between 1908 and 1911, he advertised as a sole practitioner. In 1912, he rejoined Scipio Jones and Thomas J. Price to create Jones, Price & Gaines.  In 1917, he returned to solo practice. After 1917, he disappeared from the records. Nothing more is known about him.Sources...

John R. Gay was born on July 20, 1887, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  It is not known when he came to Arkansas, but he was vice-principal and taught at the Lee County Training School, Arkansas.  He later was named principal of the Hot Springs (Arkansas) Grammar School, was a food administrator for the Federal government, and a bookkeeper for the Stringer Mercantile. More... 

William E. Gay was born in 1880 in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1906, he married Carrie Hobson, with whom he had three children, only one of whom, Willie Edna, survived infancy. Willie Edna died at the age of about ten years. At the time of the 1910 census, he worked as a mail clerk for the railway and owned his own home. He also spent some time as a teacher. Carrie died in December 1910 and he married Bertha Watkins in 1915. William and Bertha Gay had eight children together. Gay is said to have attended classes at Fisk University, Philander Smith College, and Tuskegee Institute. More ...

K. Gibbs was identified as an attorney in the 1876-77 City Directory of Little Rock (Pulaski County, Arkansas), Pine Bluff & Hot Springs. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

Mifflin Wistar Gibbs came to Arkansas from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was born on April 17, 1823, the son of free Blacks. Gibbs was an impressive personality. He was both self-educated and wealthy by his own efforts. In his early years, Gibbs had participated in the convention movement focused around abolitionism in Philadelphia before leaving the state. He explored western New York state on a speaking tour with Frederick Douglass. More ...

J. Early Greene was listed as an attorney in the Little Rock (Pulaski County, Arkansas) City Directories between 1916 and 1920. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

George H. Green(e) was listed in the Little Rock (Pulaski County, Arkansas) City Directories of 1910 and 1912. In 1938, he was a member of the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black lawyers group, and practicing in Hot Springs (Garland County), Arkansas. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

William H. Grey was born December 22, 1829, in Washington, D.C., the son of free parents. He arrived in Arkansas from Missouri in 1863 and settled in Helena (Phillips County), Arkansas. He established himself as a business man and planter, and quickly became active and influential in Republican state politics. Although he had only a rudimentary formal education, Grey had learned parliamentary procedure some time before 1856 while he accompanied his employer, Virginia Governor Henry A. Wise, to sessions of Congress. More ...

Tabbs Gross arrived in Arkansas in 1867. Born a slave in Kentucky in 1820, he purchased his freedom before the Civil War and moved to Ohio. In 1869, he began publishing Arkansas’ first Black-owned newspaper, the Freeman, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), Arkansas. Gross’ newspaper editorials criticized the Republican Party’s treatment of its Black supporters and pushed for more access for Blacks to power within the party. Believing in the “need for ‘peace and harmony’ between the races,” he also supported the restoration of political rights to former Confederates. By this, he subjected himself to criticism from Black republicans and others. Despite the controversy he created, the paper was short-lived and folded in 1870. That year’s census reports his personal wealth as $800 and his occupation as publisher. Gross’ goading helped convince Republicans to cede more political power to Blacks. Gross himself was an active member of that party, becoming a delegate to state conventions in 1876 and being “narrowly defeated” for a legislative seat that same year. More...

Milton Wayman Guy was admitted to practice by the state supreme court on June 11, 1915, and was listed in the 1915 Little Rock (Pulaski County) City Directory as practicing with Scipio Jones and John Gaines. After one year, Guy resumed a solo practice until 1934. He was a founding member of the first Arkansas branch of the NAACP in Little Rock in 1918. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

John A. Hibblerwas born in Arkansas in 1878. Hibbler was admitted to practice before the state supreme court on June 30, 1919. Apparently, he was admitted earlier in the circuit court, as he was listed as an attorney in the Little Rock City Directory (Pulaski County, Arkansas) in 1916. He first appears in politics as part of the group of Blacks who protested the 1891 passage of the “separate coach” bill that would segregate railway cars. He also joined Scipio Jones and other Blacks in fighting the segregationist whites within the Arkansas Republican Party, to the extent of holding their own state conventions in 1914 and 1916. When the Republicans held their 1920 state convention in a segregated hotel, he and Scipio Jones, J.R. Booker, W.A. Singfield, and W.L. Purifoy attended and refused to leave until the lights were turned off. They then held their own separate convention. More ...

Myles A. Hibbler was admitted to practice before the state supreme court on January 26, 1942. He was the son of J.A. Hibbler and practiced with his father in Little Rock (Pulaski County), Arkansas. Myles joined his father, Scipio Jones, J.R. Booker, William A. Booker, and the NAACP (through Thurgood Marshall) in a suit against the Little Rock School District in 1942 on behalf of a Black teacher for equal pay with white teachers. Myles Hibbler died on March 9, 1946. Sources...

John A. Hiller was mentioned in an article as a practicing attorney in Little Rock (Pulaski County), Arkansas, during World War II. No other information is known about him. Sources...

S. J. Hollingsworth probably came to Arkansas from New York. He arrived in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Arkansas, before 1883, when he is listed as Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue in the Pine Bluff City Directory. He was admitted to practice by the state supreme court on October, 28, 1887. He practiced in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Arkansas and was described at one time as “the most notable among the colored bar.” Nothing more is known about him. Sources...

A. Jackson was listed as a lawyer in the 1920 Little Rock (Pulaski County, Arkansas) City Directory. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

J. A. Jamison was listed as a speaker at a program of the Wonder State Bar Association in the Arkansas Gazette of 1901. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

G. A. Johnson was listed in one source as practicing in Huttig (Ashley County), Arkansas about 1929. Nothing else is known about him.  Another source mentioned a George Johnson, who lived in Huttig during the 1950s and 1960s, who may be the same man.  Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

John H. Johnson was born in Ohio in 1840, and arrived in Augusta (Woodruff County), Arkansas, in 1865 at age 25. He is the earliest known Black attorney in Arkansas after the Civil War, said to have been admitted to practice and to the bar of the state supreme court the year he arrived. More ...

Thomas P. Johnson was brought to Arkansas as a slave about 1859 from North Carolina or Kentucky, when he was about 38 years of age. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War, possibly with the 54th United States Colored Infantry out of Pulaski County, Arkansas. After the war, Johnson was elected one of eight Black members of the 1868 Arkansas Constitutional Convention, representing Little Rock (Pulaski County), Arkansas, where he was a minister. He was active at the Convention, speaking seven times and serving on two of its committees. In proceedings involving continuation of the Freedman’s Bureau, Johnson said “I do not think I ever would vote for the Freedmen’s Bureau to be done away with, until the country is reconstructed. We need reconstruction – universal suffrage. Give us that, and we don’t ask for more – give us that, and we will not need the Freedman’s Bureau.” More ...

A. D. Jones was listed as an attorney and partner to Lloyd G. Wheeler, another Black attorney, in the 1872-73 Little Rock City Directory (Pulaski County, Arkansas). Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

Archie V. Jones came to Arkansas from the District of Columbia where he was born about 1877.  He is listed in the archival records of Howard University School of Law as having earned his LL.B. degree in 1899.  He was licensed to practice by the local circuit court on January 15, 1899, as he appears in the 1900-01 Little Rock (Pulaski County, Arkansas) City Directory and in the 1900 Census as an attorney. Archie Jones was admitted to practice before the state supreme court on October 15, 1901. Between 1900 and 1903, he shared an office with Scipio Africanus Jones (no relation). As of 1901, he was a member of the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black lawyers organization. More...

IJ. Pennoyer Jones was born in Virginia in 1842 and arrived in Arkansas City (Desha County), Arkansas in 1870. He had a reputation as a successful businessman, in railroad speculation and land development, before he became known in state politics. Jones was elected a representative from Desha County to the 1874 Arkansas Constitutional Convention, at which time he was known as an attorney. More...

Japheth F. Jones came to Arkansas from either Alabama or Mississippi, where he was born November 1863. It is not known when he arrived in Arkansas. He apparently was practicing law in 1891, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), although his name and attorney designation first appear in a 1906 publication. Jones was listed as a member of the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black attorney’s group, in 1901. He was admitted to practice by the state supreme court on June 4, 1917. Jones appeared regularly as an attorney in city directories from 1910 to 1936, and in census reports for 1900 and 1920. In 1936, he is listed as practicing as “Jones & Jones,” when his son, Theodore, joined the practice. Japheth Jones’ name does not appear in any published reports of appellate cases. More ...

Scipio Africanus Jones was born in Dallas County, Arkansas, around August 1863-64. Jones was first admitted to practice in the circuit court of Pulaski County (Little Rock), Arkansas, on June 15, 1889, and to the state Supreme Court on November 26, 1900. Ultimately, Scipio Jones would be admitted to practice before the United States District Court in 1901, to the United States Supreme Court in 1905, and to the United States Court of Appeals in 1914. More ...

Theodore X. Jones was born on August 20, 1904, the son of attorney Japheth Farland and Eliza Jones in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Arkansas. He attended the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama before reading law in his father’s office. He was admitted to practice law by the state supreme court on February 15, 1932, and entered into partnership with his father. In 1938, Theodore Jones was a member of the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black lawyers group. He was still practicing in the 1960s. More ...

Augustus Arvis Latting was born on January 30, 1905, in Helena (Phillips County), Arkansas. After earning his A.B. degree from Fisk University in 1926, he attended Northwestern University School of Law, graduating with a J.D. in 1932. He was admitted to practice before the Arkansas state Supreme Court on January 2, 1933, but did not settle into practice in Helena. Instead, Latting began a practice of law in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was one of the state’s earliest Black lawyers.  He became a member of the Memphis and Shelby County bar in 1935. Ultimately, he became a judge, and was known as the “dean of black lawyers and a mentor” to a number of others. Latting married Marietta Ish of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, in 1943 and they had three children: Arvis, Carol, and Jean. Sources...

J. J. Lawson was listed by the (Little Rock) Arkansas Gazette as a speaker for the Wonder State Bar Association in 1901. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

Daniel Webster Lewis came to Arkansas from Frankfort, Kentucky, where he was born about 1851. He studied law under a white lawyer and a white judge in Marion (Crittenden County), Arkansas, and was reportedly admitted to practice about 1873 by the local circuit court. As of 1880, Lewis was 28 years of age and also identified as a merchant and justice of the peace. Another source states that he was elected judge of the Crittenden County probate court in 1882 and served until 1888. He served as a Crittenden County state representative in the Arkansas General Assembly in the 1883 session. He was an active Mason. He was married to Adline and had sons.  He died in 1932. Sources...

C. T. Lindsay came to Arkansas from Georgia, where he was born May 1850. He was listed as an attorney in Little Rock (Pulaski County) City Directories from 1888 to 1915, and also was said to have been admitted to practice law in Georgia and Tennessee. Lindsay was a member of the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black lawyers group, in 1901. His name appears in one 1914 published court opinion, when he and Nelson H. Nichols appeared opposite W.A. Singfield, acting in his own behalf, in an estate sale matter. In 1900, he had been married to Bettie, also from Georgia, for 23 years. They had no children. He owned his own home. Lindsay died on November 20, 1914, in Little Rock at the age of 64. Sources...

J. Gray Lucas was born in Marshall, Texas, on March 11, 1864, but obtained his basic education in the Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Arkansas, schools, where he received a B.A. from Branch Normal  College (now University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) in 1884.  As a law student at Boston University School of Law, J. Gray Lucas was quoted in newspapers as saying that Arkansas was a land of opportunity for Blacks. He graduated from law school with “high honors” in 1887. Lucas was admitted to practice in Arkansas in 1887, after a “rigorous” bar examination in which he earned a perfect score. He was appointed assistant prosecuting attorney in Pine Bluff shortly thereafter. He was reappointed to that position by the next prosecuting attorney. More ...

Waters McIntosh came to Arkansas from Lynchburg (Sumter County), South Carolina, where he was born a slave on July 4, 1862. He was listed as an attorney in the 1916 Little Rock City Directory, in practice with another Black lawyer, William E. Gay. That partnership lasted for three years. McIntosh was admitted to practice before the state supreme court on February 23, 1920. He had obtained his legal education through the “American Correspondence Course in Law,” which he completed when he was fifty years old. His name appears as attorney of record in one case appealed to the state supreme court, in which he was challenging a service tax imposed on attorneys.More ...

Nelson H. Nichols was an Arkansas native, born December 19, 1865, at Arkansas Post in Arkansas County. His family arrived in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1870 and Nichols had approximately seven years of formal schooling before beginning to earn his living as a laborer at brick yards, and in oil and shingle mills. In 1886, Nichols began working for an African-American lawyer, J. Pennoyer Jones, who was then clerk and ex-officio recorder for Desha County, Arkansas. Pennoyer Jones encouraged Nichols to study law and acted as his mentor both while Jones remained in his clerk’s position and after Jones was elected as a county judge in 1890-92. This is the first instance discovered of mentoring by a Black attorney for an younger Black man in Arkansas.More ...

Charles A. Otley was mentioned in one source as having been an attorney in 1872 in Marianna (Lee County), Arkansas. An article in the Arkansas Daily Gazette reported that a Black man of this name was elected city attorney in Phillips County in 1872. The 1885 Little Rock (Pulaski County) City Directory lists an “Otney, C.A.,” as a lawyer but it is not clear that these are the same person. No other information is known about him. Sources...

Jno. D. Page was admitted to practice before the state supreme court on January 20, 1908. He had earlier been listed as a Justice of the Peace in the town of Hot Springs (Garland County), Arkansas, in 1884. Page was a member of the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black lawyers organization, in 1901. Nothing more is known about him. Sources...

W. E. Parker was listed in the 1908 Little Rock (Pulaski County, Arkansas) City Directory as an attorney. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

John E. Patterson was mentioned by one source as practicing in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1873. Nothing more is known about him. Sources...

George Napier Perkins came to Arkansas from Franklin County, Tennessee, where he was born a slave on January 1, 1841, the son of Moses and Millie Perkins. He received a public school education. Perkins served in the Union Army during the Civil War beginning as a Private and becoming a 1st Sergeant in the U.S. 57th Colored Infantry, Company C. He married Maggie A. Dillard of Fort Smith, Arkansas (Sebastian County), on January 30, 1867.More ...

J.H. Perkins is listed as a speaker on a program produced by the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black lawyers organization, in 1901. Nothing more is known about him. Sources...

Marion R. Perry was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on July 11, 1892. He received an A.B. from Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) in 1912. During World War I, he was one of four Negroes to graduate in the 17th Provisional Training Battalion as a Second Lieutenant. During his two years in the Army, he was promoted to First Lieutenant. More ...

S.A. Price was listed as a speaker at a program of the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black lawyers organization, in 1901. Nothing more is known about him. Sources...

Thomas Jewell Price came to Arkansas from New Haven, Connecticut, where he was born on April 2, 1884. He was admitted to practice before the Arkansas state supreme court on June 15, 1908. He obtained his legal education from Howard University School of Law, graduating in 1906. During law school and after graduation, Price clerked for Black judge Robert H. Terrell in Washington, D.C. More...

Stuart C. Pryce was an Arkansas native, born a slave in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) about December 1855. He attended high school in Pine Bluff. Pryce studied law under George Napier Perkins some time between 1891 and 1900 in Oklahoma and practiced law in Oklahoma for one year before returning to Arkansas. This is the second instance found where an African-American Arkansas lawyer had been trained by another African-American lawyer (see Nelson Nichols). More ...

Wallace Leon Purifoy, Jr. was admitted to practice by the state supreme court on January 17, 1938, and practiced in Forrest City, Arkansas, in 1938.  He attended Knoxville College in Tennessee, and the Chicago School of Law thereafter.  In 1938, Purifoy was a member of the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black lawyers group. He still was in practice during the late 1950s and 1960s.  In the 1960s, he worked with civil rights activist, Wiley A. Branton, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, taking over many of Branton’s cases when Branton left the state to work in the Voter Education Project. More...

C. Alfred Rideout arrived in Arkansas about 1883, probably from Monticello (Jefferson County), Florida, where he was an attorney in 1877. In 1883, Rideout appears in a list of attendees at a Colored Men’s Convention in Little Rock, where he represented Conway County (Arkansas). He attended a similar convention in Louisville (Kentucky), called by Frederick Douglass, that same year. The Weekly Mansion, a Black newspaper, stated that he was the attorney for the Fort Smith and Memphis Railroad. As part of that work, he went to South Carolina to recruit Blacks to work on the railroad, but was chased out of the state by threats of violence. More...

J. A. Robinson was born in Arkansas in May 1869. He was admitted to practice law by the state supreme court on June 15, 1893. That same year, he joined with Black attorney Scipio Jones in a law partnership in Little Rock (Pulaski County, Arkansas) that lasted until 1896. In 1901, he was a member of the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black lawyers group. In 1902, he, Archie V. Jones, and Scipio Africanus Jones (not related) created the Independent Political League and offered their own slate of candidates for county offices in opposition to the regular political parties. Robinson does not appear as attorney of record in any matters appealed to the state supreme court. In 1900, he had been married to Emma E. for nine years and owned his home. He died on July 14, 1937. More...

J. D. Royce (or “Royes”) was mentioned as a practicing criminal defense lawyer in Hot Springs (Garland County), Arkansas, about 1895. The notice included the information that he had been appointed to represent a white man charged with murder. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

Frank Sawyer was born in Massachusetts in 1835.  He served in the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1877 as a representative of Lincoln County.  He was mulatto and described as a lawyer and county assessor.  The 1880 Census reports him married, with both parents born in North Carolina. Sources...

S(amuel) H. Scott was born in New York state about 1851.  He is mentioned in the 1883-84 Pine Bluff (Jefferson County, Arkansas) City Directory as an attorney. Scott was elected a state legislative representative from Jefferson County to the Arkansas General Assembly in 1885. He may have moved thereafter, as he also was reported to be an attorney in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Arkansas, in 1889.  He also was described as an editor, and may have published or worked for a newspaper or other journal. Nothing more is known about him. Sources...

William L. Scott was listed as a lawyer in the Helena (Phillips County, Arkansas) city directories of 1920 and 1923-24. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

Abram (Abraham) W. Shadd was born in Pennsylvania or Ohio in 1844, of a free Black family known as active abolitionists. Shadd was admitted to practice in the state supreme court on March 25, 1872. His residence was listed as Chicot County, Arkansas, although he also practiced in Mississippi where he was the first Black attorney and became a well-known politician. His name does not appear as attorney of record in official Arkansas court records, and it is probable that he practiced very little law in Arkansas. More...

Neely W. Shelton came to Arkansas from Tennessee, where he attended a law course and was admitted to practice law in 1903. Shelton was born in Starkville, Mississippi, in 1875 and attended school at the Agricultural and Mechanical College at Rodney, Mississippi. Thereafter, he taught school in Tennessee. Immediately after admission in Tennessee, Shelton moved to Arkansas and was admitted to practice law by the Jefferson County circuit court in April 1903.  He was admitted to practice before the state Supreme Court on April 2, 1917.  He practiced in Pine Bluff from 1903 to 1929. More...

William Augustus Singfield arrived in Arkansas about 1898 from Wilkes County, Georgia, where he was born on January 1, 1875, to Mr. G.W. and Mrs. M.C. Singfield. Prior to becoming a lawyer, he worked as a carpenter and, later, founded the weekly Little Rock Reporter in 1901. More ...

Andrew W. Spears came to Arkansas from Florida about 1886 and was admitted to practice before the state supreme court on July 23, 1906. He was listed in city directories until 1925. In 1910, he had been married to Minnie for six years and they had two children (Rosa M. and Inez Verna). By the 1920 Census, Spears was married to Roena and there were two additional children (Joseph and Andrew). He died on June 29, 1925. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

I(saiah) H. Spears was reported in practice in El Dorado (Union County), Arkansas in 1938. He had graduated from Howard University’s School of Law in 1908.  At that time, he was a member of the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black lawyers group. A reference places him in practice previously in Tulsa, Oklahoma, about the time of the May 1921 “Race Riot.” After the fires that burned the city’s thriving Black community, Spears and two other attorneys, practiced law in a tent as Spears, Franklin & Chappelle. They moved into a permanent office on Greenwood Street in November 1921. The trio’s most notable case, among many on behalf of riot victims, involved a successful challenge to an ordinance of the Tulsa City Commission that would have made rebuilding the area significantly more expensive for Blacks. There is some suggestion that Spears moved to California at some point. Nothing more is known about him. Sources...

J.G. Taylor was admitted to practice before the state Supreme Court on November 6, 1880.  In 1901, he was listed as speaker on a program of the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black lawyers group. Nothing else is known about him. Sources...

Roderick B. Thomas came to Arkansas, probably from Alabama, about 1885. He practiced law about two years in Little Rock (Pulaski County) with Black attorney Mifflin Gibbs. Thomas was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on December 26,1848, and moved with his family to Selma (Dallas County), Alabama, where he was educated. He was elected clerk of the Dallas County criminal court in 1869, and to the Selma City Council in 1873. In 1874, he was elected judge of the criminal court in Selma (thus becoming the first Black judge in Alabama), but was evicted shortly thereafter when the court was abolished after Democrats regained electoral power in the state in 1874. More...

Vince M. Townsend, Jr. was admitted to practice before the state supreme court on July 6, 1942. He left almost immediately for Los Angeles, California, where he practiced law until the 1990s.  In Los Angeles, he was involved in the California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL), serving as Parliamentarian in 1980 and 1981.  In 1980, he also was elected to the board of directors of the National Bar Association.  He also served on the CABL Executive and Convention Committees.   He maintained his Arkansas law license all his life. Nothing more is known about him.  He was born April 12, 1906, and died October 16, 1997 in Los Angeles, California. More...

G.W. Walker was listed as a speaker on a program of the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black lawyers organization in 1901. Nothing more is known about him. Sources...

Lloyd G. Wheeler came to Arkansas from Illinois. He is said to have graduated from Union Law College in Chicago, and to have been the first African-American attorney admitted to practice in that state.  He is listed in the 1871 Chicago Directory in practice with someone named “Hook” at 73 La Salle Street.  He was admitted to the bar in Arkansas in 1871. Wheeler practiced law full-time, which was unusual at that time. In 1872, the Little Rock (Pulaski County) City Directory listed him in a law partnership with an A.D. Jones. He joined Mifflin Wistar Gibbs in a partnership in 1873. Gibbs described Wheeler as a “popular and an able lawyer, with considerable practice.” The partnership lasted only a year or so. Wheeler left Arkansas in 1879. More ...

Shepperson Wilburn graduated from Howard University School of Law in 1948, a year ahead of L. Clifford Davis.  Wilburn set up practice in Helena, Arkansas, shortly thereafter and, with Davis, filed a school desegregation suit against the Helena School District.  Nothing more is known about him.

Thaddeus Douglas Williams was admitted to practice law by the state supreme court on July 3, 1950. Court records note that he died on October 27, 1967. Nothing more is known about him. Sources...

Wathal G. Wynn was admitted to practice by the Arkansas supreme court on September 25, 1871. He lived in Lake Village, Chicot County. He is reported to have attended law school at Howard University in Washington, D.C. about 1871. He died on December 15, 1871, following a fight with three white men over the future of local business development in Lake Village. Sources...

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