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On This Day: Juanita L.Kidd Stout

Updated on March 7, 2019

March 7, 1919 Justice Juanita Kidd Stout was born to Henry and Mary Kidd in Wewoka, Oklahoma. She would later become the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court of any state. As a child she started reading at the very young age of three years old and entered the third grade at the tender age of six! She later started her college career at 16 years of age. She attributed her early learning to her mother who was a teacher. Juanita attended a historically black college Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. After attending Lincoln for two years she transferred to the University of Iowa and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in music in 1939. For the next three years she taught as a music teacher after returning to Oklahoma.

It was in 1942 that she met Charles Otis Stout whom she married in Washington D.C. During her husband’s time in the United States Army Juanita started working for the law firm Houston, Houston, Hastie, and Waddy. There she worked directly with attorney Charles Hamilton Houston who was known for his work with desegregation. She learned legal dictation and decided that she wanted to pursue a career in law. She attended Howard University and later Indiana University where she earned not one but two law degrees in 1948 and 1954.

After World War II ended, Juanita and Charles moved to Philadelphia where Mrs. Stout practiced law for about 5-6 years before joining the D.A.’s office. In 1959 Juanita was elected as a municipal judge. She was reelected in 1969 and 1979. In January 1988 she was appointed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court making her the first African American woman to do so in any state. She retired from this position when she was 70 years old. She then returned to the Common Pleas Court where she worked until her death in 1998.

Juanita received numerous awards throughout her career. She also received eleven doctorate degrees. She was named Outstanding Woman Lawyer of the Year by the National Association of Women Lawyers in 1965. In 1974 the University of Iowa awarded her with a Distinguished Service Award. Later in 1980 she also received the Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Service Award from Oklahoma State University. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1981. The Stout’s were married for forty six years at the time of Charles’ death. They had no children. Juanita passed away August 21, 1998 from Leukemia. She and her husband are both buried in Wewoka, Oklahoma.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Sheree Love

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