28 Days Of Black History Day #28
Macon Bolling Allen (born Allen Macon Bolling; August 4, 1816 – June 11, 1894) was the first African American licensed to practice law in the United States, (Maine, 1844), and is believed to be the first African American to hold a judicial position, (Massachusetts, 1848). He moved to Charleston, South Carolina after the American Civil War to practice law and was elected to be a judge in the probate court of Charleston in 1874. Following the Reconstruction Era, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked as an attorney for the Land and Improvement Association.
Allen was born in Indiana in 1816. He grew up a free man He learned to read and write on his own and eventually landed his first a job as a schoolteacher, where he further improved his reading and writing skills.
Allen moved to Portland, Maine in the early 1840s and studied law and worked as a law clerk for General Samuel Fessenden, a local abolitionist and attorney. After passing the Maine bar exam, he was granted his license to practice law in Maine on July 3, 1844. He experienced difficulty finding legal work in Maine because whites were unwilling to hire a black attorney and few blacks lived in Maine.
In 1845 he moved to Boston, Massachusetts, walking fifty miles to the bar exam test site because he could not afford transportation, and passing the exam despite his fatigue. Allen and Robert Morris then opened the first black law office in the United States. According to the authors of Sarah’s Long Walk, however: “we have no direct knowledge that [Allen and Morris] ever met”
After Reconstruction, Allen moved to Washington, D.C., where he was employed as an attorney in 1873 for the Land and Improvement Association