Relative Of Lynching Victim Makes History As Michigan Supreme Court Justice

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The great-granddaughter of a lynching victim made history on Sunday (January 1) when she was sworn in as Michigan's first Black woman Supreme Court justice, CNN reports.

During a recent ceremony, retired Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget Mary McCormack cloaked rising justice Kyra Bolden as she was sworn into the state's highest court.

The ceremony came after Bolden was appointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in November. At the time of the appointment, Whitmer said Bolden would “bring a unique perspective to our high court as a Black woman — and as a new, working mom — that has too long been left out."

“Kyra is committed to fighting for justice for generations and I know she will serve Michigan admirably, building a brighter future for her newborn daughter and all our kids," Whitmer added.

Bolden's road to becoming the state's first Black woman Supreme Court justice began when her grandfather, Jesse Lee Bond, was lynched in 1939 after "asking a store owner for a receipt."

"He was beaten and castrated and thrown into the local river. The coroner deemed it an accidental drowning. As a result, his murderers walked free," Bolden told CNN.

The injustice, which occurred less than a century ago, drove Bolden to pursue a career in the justice system, she said.

In a statement, the newly sworn-in justice recognized the trailblazers who came before her.

“I will ensure equal access to justice, apply the law without fear or favor, and treat all who come before our state’s highest court with dignity and respect. I also know that this moment — becoming the first Black woman to serve on the Michigan Supreme Court — would not be possible without leaders like Judges Shelia Johnson, Debra Nance, Deborah Thomas, Cynthia Stephens and Denise Langford Morris,” Bolden said. “These are the Black women who blazed the path that I seek to follow. I hope that my voice on the court will inspire future generations to pursue their dreams. I am humbled by this honor, and I am ready to get to work on behalf of all Michiganders.”

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