Maryland Supreme Court Set for Posthumous Bar Admission of Edward Garrison Draper

Special court session this fall to admit previous legal bar applicant who was found to be fully qualified but refused entry due to skin color. 

The Supreme Court of Maryland will hold a Special Session on October 26, 2023 for the posthumous bar admission of Edward Garrison Draper, the earliest known individual found fully qualified to practice law in Maryland, but who was denied the privilege of doing so based on his race. After a successful petition filed earlier this year, Maryland will become the sixth state to grant posthumous bar admission to an individual wrongfully denied entry. The Hon. John G. Browning, retired Justice of Texas’ Fifth Court of Appeals, Maryland attorney Domonique A. Flowers, and University of Baltimore School of Law Professor José F. Anderson filed the petition.

From a Maryland Judiciary press release:

“The Supreme Court of Maryland thanks Justice Browning, Mr. Flowers, and Professor Anderson for bringing Mr. Draper’s story to our attention,” said Chief Justice Matthew J. Fader. “The Court looks forward to acting on their petition and further highlighting the legacy of Mr. Draper and others who were wrongly denied the ability to practice law.”

The University of Baltimore Law Forum published an extended article in late 2022 by retired Judge Browning detailing the treatment and experience of Mr. Draper. The piece was titled, “To Fight the Battle, First You Need Warriors: Edward Garrison Draper, Everett Waring, and the Quest for Maryland’s First Black Lawyer.” The petition to the courts for Mr.Draper’s posthumous admission followed shortly after.

The Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) more recently published a recap of this historic decision to admit Mr. Draper by Judge Browning. The article titled, “Lessons from the Posthumous Bar Admission of Edward Garrison Draper” can be found on the MSBA website.  A media advisory outlining the details of the Special Session will be issued in October by the Maryland Judiciary.