Paul Cuffe (1759-1817) was the richest African American in the United States during the early 1800’s. At the age of 19, he sued the Massachusetts courts for the right to vote stating that taxation without representation should be illegal. He built on his own farm, New Bedford’s only school for the children of “free Negroes” and personally sponsored their teachers.
Famed attorney Louis A. Bedford Jr. died Thursday after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 88. In 1966, Bedford became the first black to serve on Dallas’ municipal court. His death was announced by the Dallas Bar Association. In 1968, Bedford was the fourth black attorney to join the association. At that time minority lawyers experience racism in the criminal justice system.
Robert Kosilek Robert Kosilek, now known as Michelle, in a January 1993 file photo taken in Bristol County Superior Court in New Bedford, Mass., where Kosilek was on trial for the May 1990 murder of his wife. Kosilek was convicted of the murder. He now charges that the state is not allowing him to keep up with his court-approved sex-change treatment in prison.
May 17, 1829: John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, dies at the age of 83 in Bedford, New York. Jay also served as the president of the Continental Congress and was an ambassador to Spain and France during the American Revolutionary War. He also served as the second Secretary of Foreign Affairs from 1784 to 1789, helping to fashion early United States foreign policy.