A push is underway to posthumously admit Edwin Garrison Draper, an aspiring Black attorney in Maryland in 1857, as a full member of the state bar.
Texas lawyer John G. Browning and Prince George’s County resident Domonique Flowers announced their plan to petition the Maryland Supreme Court for Draper’s admittance during a symposium Thursday at the University of Baltimore School of Law, The Daily Record reported.
Draper, who was educated at Dartmouth College and worked under attorneys in Boston and Baltimore, had more experience than many of the white candidates who sought admission with him, The Daily Record reported.
Baltimore Superior Court’s Zacchaeus Collins Lee — a cousin to future Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee — administered the oral exam to Draper and agreed that he was qualified in all respects. However, Draper could not join the bar because he was not a free white citizen of the state, Lee said.
Draper assured Lee that he wished to practice law in Liberia. Agreeing to that condition, Lee certified his qualifications.
Draper departed for Liberia a few days but died of tuberculosis a year later, the article reported.
“We hope the petition will be well received, and that Maryland’s highest court will help in righting a historic wrong,” Browning said in an email, the Daily Record reported.