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 Wade Hampton McCree, Jr

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Wade Hampton McCree, Jr

  • Birth 3 Jul 1920 Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa, USA
  • Death 30 Aug 1987 Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
  • Burial Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
  • Memorial ID 6576587

Attorney, Judge, Public Official and Law Professor. He was the First African American appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the second African-American Solicitor General in the history of the United States (1977-1981). He has been fondly described as "a lawyer's lawyer, a judge's judge, and an intellectual giant, a role model for all in the legal profession. He came from a long line of people determined to have an education despite all difficulties. McCree, one of five children was born in July of 1920 in Des Moines, Iowa, son of Wade McCree,Sr., who opened what is believed to have been the first drugstore in Iowa owned by an African-American. He attended public schools in Hilo, Hawaii (where his father worked for the Federal Narcotics Service becoming the narcotics agent in charge of Hawaii in 1924), Chicago, Illinois and finishing at the Boston Latin School. In 1941, McCree received his undergraduate degree from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he became a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He then went on to Harvard Law School, where he finished twelfth in his class in 1948. During this period his schooling was interrupted by World War II where he served two years of overseas combat duty as Captain of Infantry. McCree was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge and the Bronze Star. He later was inducted into the infantry Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame in Dec. of 1981. McCree soon married Dores, a student at Simmons College. The union was blessed with three children. In 1950 he and his family moved to Detroit, Michigan where McCree joined the legendary law firm of Bledsoe and Taylor. In 1952 he was appointed by Michigan Governor G. Mennen Williams to the state's Workmen's Compensation Commission and in 1954 to a vacancy on the Wayne County Circuit Court. McCree won election to the unexpired term in 1955, the first African-American to a court of record in Michigan and to a full six-year term in 1959. In Sept of 1961 President John F. Kennedy appointed Judge McCree to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, where he served until his appointment in 1966 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. As an appeals court judge, McCree took part in a number of school desegregation cases in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. He issued important opinions in Stifel Vs Hopkins (1973), Environmental Defense Fund Vs Tennessee Valley Authority (1972) and U.S. Vs Griffin (1970). He later resigned from that court in March of 1977 to accept appointment as U.S. Solicitor General in the Carter administration. As Solicitor General, McCree argued 25 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including the Richard Nixon presidential tapes case and the Bakke reverse discrimination lawsuit against the University of California at Davis. In 1981 he accepted appointment as Lewis M. Simes Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, where he taught until his death on Aug. 30, 1987. Former President Jimmy Carter described McCree at his memorial service as "a true American hero." McCree was recipient of many awards including 30 Honorary Doctorates and being honored with his name being inscribed in gold on the Boston Latin School auditorium.

Bio by: Curtis Jackson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 5 Jul 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6576587
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Wade Hampton McCree, Jr (3 Jul 1920–30 Aug 1987), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6576587, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .