Geraldine Hines Becomes First Black Woman on Massachusetts High Court

Gov. Deval Patrick nominated the 66-year-old to the state's highest court last June. 

Posted: 07/10/2014 03:58 PM EDT

Gov. Deval Patrick’s nominee to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was recently approved, making Geraldine Hines the first African-American woman to sit on the state’s highest court.

The governor’s council, which voted unanimously to confirm Hines to a seat on the Appeals Court 18 months ago, also supported Hines, 66, at a hearing for the historic promotion last week.

“She has been a beloved and respected colleague, praised by judges and lawyers alike for being smart, prepared, fair, tough, decisive, warm, thoughtful and gentle, all at the same time,” Gov. Patrick said when announcing Judge Hines in June.

Born and raised in Mississippi, where she earned a degree from Tougaloo College, Hines would continue on to receive a law degree at the University of Wisconsin.

“Looking back on my humble beginnings as a child of the segregated South and all that Jim Crow represents, a flood of emotions washes over me,” Hines said during her nomination. “I am here now because of a mother who prayed without ceasing, and who saw beyond the evil of Jim Crow, which surrounded us in our small town on the Mississippi River."

Hines will fill an associate justice seat left vacant by Associate Justice Ralph Gants, who will become chief justice.

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(Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

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