The late Wade H. McCree Jr. was the first Black judge appointed in Michigan, and the first Black federal judge appointed in the Eastern District of the state as well.
Wade Hampton McCree Jr. was born July 3, 1920 in Des Moines, Ia. His father, Wade Sr., was the first Black pharmacist in Iowa who became the first Black narcotics inspector for the FDA. Wade Jr. was raised mostly in Boston, and attended Fisk University for undergraduate studies before entering the Army and fighting in World War II.
While in the service, McCree worked towards his law degree at Harvard University, obtaining it in 1948. He and his wife, Dores, raised their three children in Detroit, Mich., where McCree found work at a Black law firm after being rejected by larger white-owned firms.
In 1953, McCree’s talent and skill as an attorney led to him being appointed by Michigan Governor G. Mennen Williams to the Workman’s Compensation Commission. Two years later, he became the first African-American appointed to the Circuit Court for Wayne County
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed McCree as the U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Michigan. In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson promoted McCree to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He resigned in 1977 to become just the second Black U.S. Solicitor General under President Jimmy Carter, with Thurgood Marshall first holding the post. McCree retired from the post in 1981 to teach law at the University of Michigan.
McCree passed from bone cancer in 1987.
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