Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

David T. Mason (1914-2003)
MSA SC 3520-2972


Born David Talbert Mason  in Providence, Rhose Island, December 6, 1914.  Attended Rhode Island Public Schools; Frederick Douglass High School, Baltimore; Lincoln University, Pennsylvania; University of Maryland School of Law. Admitted to the Maryland Bar November 8, 1951. Married Margaret Spriggs; one daughter, Donna Marie. Died November 16, 2003, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Member, Baltimore City Jail Board, 1954-1963. Hearing Examiner and Appeals Referee, Department of Employment Security, 1955-1962. Assistant State's Attorney, Baltimore City, 1962-1964, Assistant Attorney General for the State of Maryland, 1964-1969, chief of the Criminal Division, 1967-1969. Delegate, 1967 Constitution Convention. Chairman, Maryland State Board of Parole, 1969-1972. Secretary, Department of Employment and Social Services (now Department of Human Resources), 1972-1974. Associate Judge, Court of Special Appeals, 1974-1983.

On November 2, 1972, David T. Mason became the first African-American appointed to a cabinet position in Maryland. He later became the first African-American appellate judge in Maryland, when he was appointed to the Court of Special Appeals by Governor Marvin Mandel. This, however, was not his first involvement with the judicial branch of Maryland government. During the early morning hours of February 15, 1953, David Mason was sitting with friends at the Club Tiajuana night club in Baltimore. Police entered the club and began to frisk male patrons for concealed weapons. This search was a result of a number of serious crimes that took place in January 1953. During January and Feburary 1953, one hundred and twenty-nine bars and clubs in the Northwestern police district were entered by police and male patrons searched. Mason informed the police commander on the scene, Sgt. Charles Wrightson, that he was an attorney, and that there was no legal basis for the search. He was then searched without his consent. Mason filed suit against Wrightson in the Superior Court of Baltimore City, for assault and battery and false imprisonment. Wrightson was found not guilty, and Mason filed an appeal with the Maryland Court of Appeals. The Court ruled in Mason's favor, and he was awarded a penny in damages, as well as court costs. Mason appeared before the Court again in the 1960s, representing the State of Maryland as an Assistant Attorney General.

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