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Cassandra Maxwell

A fighter for justice -- Cassandra Maxwell – first African-American woman admitted to the SC Bar

Cassandra Maxwell

Born in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Cassandra Maxwell was one of six children. Despite being raised to continue, alongside her siblings, the successful grocery store owned by her family, Maxwell pursued higher education, graduating from Howard University’s School of Law. She returned to her birthplace of South Carolina, passing the South Carolina bar exam, and subsequently became the first African American woman to pass and be admitted to the South Carolina bar.

After ten years of teaching at South Carolina State University’s Law School, Maxwell moved with her husband to Atlanta and began her own practice. Her time in Atlanta was spent becoming more involved in social issues, specifically concentrating on segregation, whereby she assisted Thurgood Marshall of the NAACP concerning the Civil Rights Movement. Maxwell was part of the invaluable draft case law which eventually ended the segregation of public facilities. Approximately ten years later, Maxwell and her husband moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she joined the Pennsylvania Bar and began, yet another practice.

Once Maxwell moved to Philadelphia, her experience, passion, and intellect expanded her opportunities for advocacy which promoted social and life-long change. She served on such organizations as League of Women Voters, Children’s United Fund, Fair Housing and Jobs for Youth, NACCP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Philadelphia’s Fellowship Commissioner, Women’s Division, led her to countrywide roles. She was appointed by President Nixon as a member of the Interim Board of Directors of the Student Loan Marketing Association, and ran as the primary candidate for judgeship in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Despite being born during a time where her race and gender were not seen in prominent roles of leadership, advocacy, and education, Cassandra Maxwell pursued opportunities which allowed her a prominent voice, thus breaking barriers and helping the lives she fought so persistently to improve.


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