A March 16, 2012 Chicago Tribune story reported the on the death of Judge Odas Nicholson. She was born in Mississippi in 1924 and came to Chicago when she was 13. She was both a DePaul undergraduate and a graduate of the DePaul Law School.
In 2005 she received The Outstanding Service to the Profession Award from the law school which honors alumni with outstanding achievements in their chosen field or specialty. She was truly a pioneer, achieving many firsts for African-American women. (p.20)
"After graduating Marshall High School, she attended Wilson Junior College for two years before earning a bachelor's degree in philosophy from DePaul University. She was the only woman in her class and the first African-American woman to graduate from DePaul University's law school, according to the Women's Bar Association of Illinois. She was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1948."
According to the Chicago Defender, "Nicholson was appointed Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County by the Supreme Court of Illinois in November 1980 and was elected to a full term in November 1982. She served as a Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County for 14 years prior to her retirement in December 1994. She was the first African-American woman assigned to the Law Division of the Court and the first woman assigned to the Motions Section where she served for eight years. She was also the first woman assigned an individual calendar."
In the Tribune story, William Maddux, a presiding judge in Cook County, and a former collegue of judge Nicholson, is quoted saying that "Odas was a trailblazer, no doubt about it," "She had a formidable mind combined with a good dose of common sense."
( Hat Tip to Glennis Jones-Marshall )