Legacy of Adolpho A. Birch Remembered

The Tennessean recognizes Black History Month by remembering the legacy of Adolpho A. Birch Jr., who became the first black chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court. Born in Washington, D.C., Birch earned his bachelors and law degrees from Howard University before moving to Nashville where he taught at Meharry Medical College, Fisk University and Tennessee State University, while maintaining a private law practice. In 1969, Birch was named a General Sessions court judge, becoming the first black Tennessean to serve in a countywide office. Elected by his fellow justices as chief justice in 1994, Birch became the first person to serve at every judicial level in Tennessee.