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At the December 2023 Board of Governors meeting, MSBA’s past presidents proposed a resolution to grant Edward Garrison Draper posthumous membership to the Maryland State Bar Association. It was unanimously adopted by the Board of Governors. 

Draper was denied admission to the Maryland Bar in 1857 despite being fully qualified because he was not a white man. The Supreme Court of Maryland posthumously admitted Draper to the Maryland bar during a special session held on October 26, 2023.

The Supreme Court of Maryland held the special session in response to a petition for Draper’s posthumous admission to the Maryland Bar, filed on March 27, 2023, by Hon. John G. Browning, retired Justice of Texas’ Fifth Court of Appeals, Maryland attorney Domonique A. Flowers, and University of Baltimore School of Law Professor José F. Anderson. 

Prior to the special session, Chief Justice Matthew J. Fader said, “The Supreme Court of Maryland thanks Justice Browning, Mr. Flowers, and Professor Anderson for bringing Mr. Draper’s story to our attention. The Court looks forward to acting on their petition and further highlighting the legacy of Mr. Draper and others who were wrongly denied the ability to practice law.”

Justice Browning outlined Draper’s story and the eventual integration of the Maryland Bar in his law review article, To Fight the Battle, First You Need Warriors: Edward Garrison Draper, Everett Waring, and the Quest for Maryland’s First Black Lawyer.

You can learn more about the posthumous Bar Admission of Edward Garrison Draper here