Mifflin Wistar Gibbs - America's First African American Judge
Mifflin Wistar Gibbs was born on April 17, 1923. Gibbs was elected as America's first African American Judge in Arkansas in 1873. Gibbs was born in Philadelphia, but eventually found his way to California in 1850 where he excelled in business, politics and as a newspaper Co-Publisher of California's only Black newspaper.
After the discovery of gold on the Fraser River in British Columbia, Gibbs led other Blacks to Canada where he once achieved success in business and politics when he was elected to the Victoria City Council (becoming the first Black person elected to public office in British Columbia). His law studies began in Canada and was completed after returning to the United States and earning his law degree from Oberlin College. He later settled in Little Rock, Arkansas where he became a lawyer and was elected the first African American judge in the United States. Gibbs became the first African American Career Diplomat when at age 74 he was appointed consul to Madagascar by President McKinley. He died at age 92 in Little Rock on July 11, 1915.
Words That Matter
Mifflin Wistar Gibbs
“Fortune, in precarious mood, may sometimes smile on the inert, but she seldom fails to surrender to pluck, tenacity and perseverance.”
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