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Study of the Legacy of Slavery Exhibits Online


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The Legacy of Slavery Exhibit for the month of January celebrates two of Maryland's most accomplished figures in the field of law, Donald Gaines Murray and Juanita Jackson Mitchell.

Donald Murray grew up in Baltimore City, and after attending Frederick Douglass high school, Murray went on to Amherst College with dreams of becoming a lawyer. Upon his graduation from Amherst, Murray applied to the University of Maryland school of law, the only law school in his home state of Maryland at the time. When Murray was denied admittance due to the school's segregation policies, he, along with the help of the NAACP sued the school. On January 15, 1936, the Maryland Court of Appeals filed a decision in favor of Murray, officially desegregating the school of law.

Juanita Jackson Mitchell was born on January 2, 1913 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Mrs. Mitchell's family would move to Baltimore City shortly afterward, a place she would call home until the time of her death in 1992. Juanita Jackson Mitchell and Elaine Carlson were the only two African American women in the class of 1950 to graduate from the University of Maryland School of Law. In that same year, Mitchell went on to become the first African American woman to practice law in Maryland. As one of the top lawyers in the state, her service as an NAACP lawyer made her an integral figure in desegregating public facilities in Baltimore City and Maryland at large.

"And as in Maryland now the equal treatment can be furnished only in the one existing law school the petitioner in our opinion, must be admitted there."
Maryland Court of Appeals Opinion, October 1935

Donald Gaines Murray

Donald Gaines Murray Biography

Summary of Gaines v. Maryland Trial

plaintiff's exhibit number 1
(Donald G. Murray to Dean of the Law School)
8 December 1934. MSA C 174-2-6

Admission Letter

Donald Gaines Murray photo and entry
from his 1934 Amherst yearbook, Olio.
Archives and Special Collections,
Amherst College Library. MSA SC 5216

McCready vs. Byrd

COURT OF APPEALS (Opinions), October,
1935 and January, 1936,
various case numbers, Oct., 1935, No. 53,
University v. Murray, MSA S 393-232,
MSA SC 2221-24-4-3.

Courts of Appeal

Donald Gaines Murray statue at Thurgood
Marshall Memorial, Lawyers' Mall,
Annapolis, Maryland

Statue of Donald Gaines Murray

Juanita Jackson Mitchell

Juanita Jackson Mitchell Biography

1950- The Beginning of a Brilliant Legal Center
MSA SC 5078-1-4


A Doctorate From Morgan
Judge Leon Higgin Botham
Juanita and Guion Bluford
MSA SC 5078-1-4


Juanita Jackson Mitchell in Action!
MSA SC 5078-1-4

Lady of Distinction
MSA SC 5078-1-4


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