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Lena Olive Smith
Print Record

Lena Olive Smith

08/13/1885 – 11/06/1966

Disposition

11/10/1966 (Burial)

Location

Section 22 Lot 341B Grave 4
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The first black female attorney in Minnesota was Lena Olive Smith, who received a degree from Northwestern College, one of five law schools that became the William Mitchell College of Law. “She was a community lawyer helping people with real estate transac tions and divorces and criminal defense and general practice,” says Ann Juergens, a professor at William Mitchell, who has written about Smith’s live. She was a civil rights activist from her early teens. She campaigned to desegregate the Pantages Theater and other public accommodations, forcing a local bar to serve blacks and make the University of Minnesota to admit a black woman to its nursing school. She was president of the Minneapolis branch of the NAACP and a proponent of mass protest. “In the 1920 s, 30, and 40s she was the most impactful woman lawyer in the state: Jurgens said. Minneapolis Star Tribune article 02/23/1967. by Randy Furst 612-673-4224

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