Parsons, James B.

Parsons, James B. (Benton)

(1913–  ) judge; born in Kansas City, Mo. An administrator and teacher at Lincoln University (Mo.) (1934–40), a public school teacher in Greensboro, N.C. (1940–42), he served in the Navy in World War II, then took a law degree at the University of Chicago (1949). He joined a Chicago law firm (1949–51), became assistant U.S. district attorney in Chicago (1951–60), and then Cook County Superior Court judge (1960–61). As a U.S. district court judge in Illinois (1961–92), he was the first African-American to serve as a federal judge.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.