From left to right: Charlie Walker, Jr., Judge Bernice Donald
and her sister Alpha Buie, Founder and Executive
Director of the Inner City Adolescent Network. Photo by
By Etta Mae Jones
Judge Bernice B. Donald, first African American woman on the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, spoke Feb. 2 at a Black History celebration at the Museum of African Diaspora (MOAD). San Francisco’s former Mayor Willie Brown served as the host.
Judge Donald talked about her journey from Olive Branch, Mississippi to her matriculation at Memphis State University, to becoming the first African-American woman to serve as a judge in the history of Tennessee. The audience sat in awe as she unfolded the story of how she became the nominee for the Court of Appeals and the vetting process and her meeting with Vice-President Biden. She told about her return home to Tennessee and encountering one of her former teachers, who had mistreated her while she was his student.
He asked for her forgiveness, and Judge Donald’s response was so humble. She replied, “That was a long time ago.”
Judge Donald was presented with a beautiful piece of elaborate artwork created by Damita E. Shaw, “A Journey In Flight.”
Mayor Ed Lee issued a proclamation in honor of the judge.