Better Late Than Never: 122 Years after His Death, Lawyer Joins the Allegheny County Bar!

( 1 vote, average: 2.5 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
George Boyer Vashon was the first African-American lawyer of New York and had even made it to the U.S. Supreme Court in the post-Civil War era. However, Alleghany County Officials in Pennsylvania continued to deny his application for enrolment to the bar on grounds of his racial origin. The State Constitution of Pennsylvania at the time denied the freedom to practice law to ''blacks.''

Vashon had studied law at the Oberlin College in Ohio at a time when many practicing lawyers had no formal education in law. An extremely studious and erudite man, Vashon served in different posts in courts, government, and universities throughout his life. He made his first application to join the profession of law at the Allegheny County Bar and was turned down citing his Negro ancestry.

In a movement that feels like an epic saga of American history, Vashon's great-grandson became a well-known Philadelphia attorney and led the fight to undo the historical wrong visited upon Vashon. Wendel G. Freeland, a Pittsburgh lawyer who discovered the fact of Vashon's rejection in an old journal of the state's bar association, helped Nolan Atkinson, the great grandson of Vashon in his crusade.

When the Philadelphia Bar Association honored Nolan Atkinson for his work promoting diversity in law, he took the opportunity to dedicate the award to Vashon, his long-dead ancestor, and related the story of his rejection to the audience.

In a two-page order made on Tuesday, the bench recognized that ''George B. Vashon possessed the necessary credentials, competency, and good character to practice law in Pennsylvania in 1847.''

That I guess is the spirit of America: The honesty to own up to mistakes and try to heal wounds as much as possible, - even if one and a half century later.

About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is the founder of LawCrossing and an internationally recognized expert in attorney search and placement. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

About LawCrossing
LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit www.LawCrossing.com.

Featured Testimonials

What do I say for LawCrossing! It has everything a customer can ask for. An extremely easy to use website!


LawCrossing Fact #124: LawCrossing isn’t just a website -- it’s a revolution! Come see why so many have signed up to get on the career paths they want to pursue!

Let's Do It!

Only LawCrossing consolidates every job it can find in the legal industry and puts all of the job listings it locates in one place.

  • We have more than 25 times as many legal jobs as any other job board.
  • We list jobs you will not find elsewhere that are hidden in small regional publications and employer websites.
  • We collect jobs from more than 250,000 websites and post them on our site.
  • Increase your chances of being seen! Employers on public job boards get flooded with applications. Our private job boards ensure that only members can apply to our job postings.
About Harrison Barnes

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

Success Stories

I’ve used LawCrossing for years and I think it is terrific. The search features work very well and bring back extremely relevant results. I think it is exactly what it should be.
  • Karen Crupi Highlands Beach, FL