Law School to Honor Rhode Island’s First Black Female Lawyer

Dorothy Russell Crockett Bartleson

A law school in Rhode Island says it’s dedicating a classroom to the state’s first black female lawyer.

Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol says it will honor Dorothy Russell Crockett Bartleson, who was admitted to the bar in 1932 as the state’s seventh female lawyer, Tuesday. She was 21 years old at the time.

The school says research indicates she was the only black woman admitted to the state bar until the 1970s.

RWU Law Dean Michael Yelnosky says dedicating the classroom helps all Rhode Island lawyers learn more about the history of the profession in the state.

Crockett Bartleson died in 1955. Her daughter, Dianne Bartleson of Surprise, Arizona, will cut the ribbon for the classroom.

First Circuit Judge Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson will deliver an address.