Pioneer Jurist. He was the first African-American to graduate from Harvard Law School in 1869, to serve on the Massachusetts state legislature as a Republican (1869-71), to serve on the Boston City Council (1876-78), and as Boston's first black municipal judge. He was of African descent, but of free parentage, and was educated in the public schools in Boston. He wed Josephine St. Pierre in 1858. She and George were active in the fight against slavery, and during the Civil War, they helped recruit black soldiers into the Massachusetts 54th and 55th regiments of the Union Army. In 1871, he was on the Labor Reform ticket. His bid for Attorney General of Massachusetts was unsuccessful. He was appointed by Governor Benjamin F. Butler judge of the municipal court in the Charlestown district in 1883. This was the first appointment of an African American as a judge in Massachusetts. (Note: It was not until 1958 that the next full-time African American judge appointed in Massachusetts.) He was an active Baptist and skillful speaker, he attended national conventions of African-Americans and was a close friend of many prominent people, including Frederick Douglass. In 1984 The Justice George Lewis Ruffin Society was founded to support minority professionals in the Massachusetts criminal justice system.
Bio by: Denise