Friday / Weekend Open Line

Black History Month stories often celebrate Thurgood Marshall, a successful attorney who became the first black appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967. The trail to that tribunal was broken over a century earlier. In 1865 African-American attorney John Rock was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court. Rock was an MD who practiced medicine and dentistry, as well as law. He died at the age of 41, just a year after being admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court. And the first black justice of a state supreme court, Jonathon J. Wright of South Carolina, was seated in 1870. Today, state judicial and legal functions employ over 167,000 people. Profile America is in its 16th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.