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”.
Author: The Creola Genealogist
My name is Anna Lima. I am the daughter of immigrants, born and raised in Massachusetts. I am the mother of two and a Speech Pathologist. My love of family history began as a child listening to my elders speak of “the old country”. Through their stories grew a love for the culture and traditions of my ancestors and I wanted to know more about who they were. My great-grandmother, our family Griot, was my greatest inspiration as she passed down stories and traditions that have helped me become the person I am today. I believe that remembering our ancestors strengthens who we are. I hope to continue my great-grandmother’s legacy, to continue to pass down the stories of not only my own family history but also the stories of the ancestors of anyone who wishes to remember. My blog is dedicated to the ancestors, those remembered and those yet to be found.
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