A. Leon Higginbotham Biography
A. Leon Higginbotham
Birthplace: Trenton, New Jersey
Higginbotham graduated from Antioch College in 1949 and Yale Law School in 1952. After working as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia and practicing private law, he was named special deputy attorney general for Pennsylvania. In 1962, President Kennedy made Higginbotham the first Black person to serve on the Federal Trade Commission. In 1964, he was assigned to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In 1968, President Johnson appointed him vice chairman of the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, known as the Kerner Commission, which investigated riots of the 1960s. In 1969, he was named Yale's first Black trustee. He also served as a district court judge in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995.