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James Parsons, The First Black U.S. Federal District Judge Was A Member of Kappa Alpha Psi

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Did you know that the first African American to serve as a U.S. Federal District Judge was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi? James Benton Parsons crossed through the Alpha Mu Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

James Parsons was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He attended Millikin University (B.A.), the University of Chicago (M.A.), and the University of Chicago Law School (J.D.). He enlisted into the United States Naval Reserve in 1942 and served during World War 2. During his time in the Naval Reserves, he directed the U.S. Navy B-1 Fleet Band.

In 1961 President John F. Kennedy nominated Parsons to serve on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The U.S. Senate approved his seat and he became the first African American member of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

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