George W. F. McMechen:


photograph of McMechen

McMechen was the first graduate of Morgan College

George W. F. McMechen was born in Wheeling, West Virginia on October 29, 1871 to George and Mildred McMechen. Siblings included Mary L. and Ethel (Jones). In 1891 he enrolled in the first class of Morgan College, formerly the Centenary Biblical Institute. Graduating in 1895, he went on to study at Yale Law School, from which he received a degree in 1899. [1]

Evansville, Indiana was the site of McMechen's first foray into the world of law practice, and presumably also the place where he met his wife, the former Anna Lee Mason of Sparta, Illinois. The couple married in 1900 and moved to Baltimore in 1904.  George was admitted to the Maryland bar on May 10, 1904 (click here to view test book entry) and he quickly formed a partnership with W. Ashbie Hawkins. The two shared a law practice until the latter's death in 1941. The initial McMechen homestead was situated at 1429 North Mount St; from about 1910-1916 they lived at 1704 Presstman; then two years at 1834 McCulloh; and after 1918 at 2007 McCulloh. The McMechens ran into some recalcitrant white citizens occupying the 1800 block of McCulloh when they first attempted to move there in 1910, but George McMechen took his case before the City Council and the Maryland Court of Appeals, and eventually won. The McMechens had four daughters: Mildred (Allen) and Edythe (Blake), both born in Indiana; and Katherine (Wilson) and Georgeanna (Chester), both Maryland-born. [2]

In 1915 McMechen ran for the 14th Ward seat on the City Council and lost. [3] But (as a consolation?) he was anointed the Grand Exalted Ruler of Elks of the World in 1919. He also served as a trustee of Morgan College from 1921 to 1939 and as a member of the board of the Morgan Corporation from the time of the state takeover of Morgan in 1939. [4]

In 1944 McMechen was appointed to the Board of School Commissioners, where he served for six years as its first Negro member. The Advisory Committee to the Baltimore Charter Revision Committee counted McMechen a member as well. [5]

Anna McMechen died on August 1, 1950. [6] George McMechen retired in 1955 and passed away on February 22, 1961. [7]


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