Macon Bolling Allen (1816-1894)

Macon Allen was born in Indiana during the early portion of the 19th century and grew up free. He studied law in Maine during the 1840s, eventually scoring a law clerk position for abolitionist and attorney General Samuel Fessenden. Though he passed the bar in Maine and was licensed to practice law in the state in 1844, he struggled to find work because whites declined to hire a black attorney. He relocated to Boston the following year and passed the bar, but racism kept him from making a steady living. He passed the qualifying exam for Justice of the Peace for Middlesex County, Mass., and became the first African-American to hold a judicial position in the U.S.