CV BLACK HISTORY MAKERS – The Hon. George Neves Leighton

The Honorable George Neves Leighton is the first Cape Verdean-American appointed a federal judge in the United States by President Gerald Ford.
Born in New Bedford, MA to Antonio Neves Leitão and Ana Silva Garcia, natives of Brava, Cabo Verde, Judge Leighton didn’t finish high school in order to work to help his family.
But through his own studying and attending night school, he was able to make his way to Howard University. Marcelino Charles “Big Daddy” Grace helped fund his first year at the university.
After graduating with honors, he attended Harvard Law. During his studies, he entered the US Army in World War II and achieved the rank of Captain. After the war, he finished Harvard Law and moved to Chicago, Illinois where he served as Assistant State Attorney General. He also co-founded the largest predominantly African American law firm in the country as well as serving as the President of the Chicago NAACP. First appointed a circuit court judge in 1964, President Gerald Ford nominated Mr Leighton to the US District Court in 1975. Judge Leighton retired from the federal bench in 1978.
In 2005, the New Bedford postal office was renamed the “ Honorable George N Leighton Post Office Building”. And in 2012, the Cook County Criminal Courthouse in Chicago, Illinois was renamed in his honor to the “ Hon. George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building”.