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Susie Sharp

Academy of Achievement

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Susie Sharp
Susie Sharp

Susie Sharp

Academy of Achievement

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Susie Marshall Sharp (July 7, 1907 – March 1, 1996) was a pioneer in the legal profession, and a distinguished jurist who became the first woman in the United States to be elected chief justice of a state supreme court. In 1926, she entered law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as the only woman in her class. In 1929, Sharp went into private practice with her father, James, in the firm of Sharp & Sharp. For the first 17 years of her law practice, women in North Carolina were not even allowed to serve on juries. She became the state's first woman city attorney. In 1949, Governor Scott appointed Sharp a state Superior Court judge, making her the first female judge in the history of the state. In 1962, Governor Sanford made Sharp the first female Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. In 1974, voters gave her 74 percent of the vote to elect her Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, the only woman in American history ever to be elected by the people of her state to that responsibility. In 1975, Sharp was selected as Time Magazine’s "Women of the Year" alongside Betty Ford, Carla Hills, Billie Jean King, Barbara Jordan, and seven others. During her 17-year tenure on the North Carolina Supreme Court, she wrote 459 majority opinions, 124 concurring opinions, and 45 dissenting opinions. When Sharp retired in 1979, she left behind a legacy that broke new ground for women in the legal profession. She transcended the limits of her times with a "rare combination of fine intelligence, great good sense, and dry wit." Sharp rejected the "feminist" label and publicly opposed the Equal Rights Amendment of the early 1970s, and no doubt disappointed women's rights activists. She never married. Justice Susie Sharp participated in the 1982 Achievement Summit in New Orleans and spoke the student delegates about her personal journey and overcoming adversity in her life.

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Susie Sharp

Susie Marshall Sharp (July 7, 1907 – March 1, 1996) was a pioneer in the legal profession, and a distinguished jurist who became the first woman in the United States to be elected chief justice of a state supreme court. In 1926, she entered law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as the only woman in her class. In 1929, Sharp went into private practice with her father, James, in the firm of Sharp & Sharp. For the first 17 years of her law practice, women in North Carolina were not even allowed to serve on juries. She became the state's first woman city attorney. In 1949, Governor Scott appointed Sharp a state Superior Court judge, making her the first female judge in the history of the state. In 1962, Governor Sanford made Sharp the first female Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. In 1974, voters gave her 74 percent of the vote to elect her Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, the only woman in American history ever to be elect...

20 MIN1982 JUN 26
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Susie Sharp
the END

Latest Episodes

Susie Sharp

Susie Marshall Sharp (July 7, 1907 – March 1, 1996) was a pioneer in the legal profession, and a distinguished jurist who became the first woman in the United States to be elected chief justice of a state supreme court. In 1926, she entered law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as the only woman in her class. In 1929, Sharp went into private practice with her father, James, in the firm of Sharp & Sharp. For the first 17 years of her law practice, women in North Carolina were not even allowed to serve on juries. She became the state's first woman city attorney. In 1949, Governor Scott appointed Sharp a state Superior Court judge, making her the first female judge in the history of the state. In 1962, Governor Sanford made Sharp the first female Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. In 1974, voters gave her 74 percent of the vote to elect her Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, the only woman in American history ever to be elect...

20 MIN1982 JUN 26
Comments
Susie Sharp
the END
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