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Judge Claudia Morcom joins the ancestors

Staff report

Retired Judge Claudia House Morcom joined the ancestors, August 17, 2014. 

Judge Claudia Morcom

Judge Claudia Morcom

Morcom, a native Detroiter, was born June 7, 1932. Her parents Gladys Stuart and Walter House left Mississippi to become part of the Great Migration that shaped Detroit and built one of the nation’s largest and most influential African American communities.

Claudia graduated from Northern High School and obtained her undergraduate and law degrees from Wayne State University. Morcom became the first African American woman at the country’s first integrated law firm, Goodman, Crockett, Eden and Robb known for their labor and civil rights advocacy. Morcom volunteered to represent civil rights activists in Mississippi during Freedom Summer in 1964, arriving on the day Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney were kidnapped.

One week later, she returned to Detroit, packed her bags and went back to Mississippi where she would live and work for more than a year as National Lawyers Guild Director of Legal Assistance. Upon returning to Detroit she worked as a workers compensation administrative law judge for nearly two decades and went on to serve as a Wayne County Circuit Court judge for 13 years.

She was actively involved in many campaigns for civil rights, equal justice and peace. An avid jazz aficionado, she was a huge fan and supporter of Detroit musicians. After her retirement Morcom served as a mediator for Wayne County. Devoting most of her time to social justice advocacy she also traveled widely.

Memorial services will be held on Saturday August 23, 2014 at Plymouth United Church of Christ. The family hour will begin at 10 a.m. followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m.  Memorial donations may be made to the Judge Claudia House Morcom Annual Scholarship and sent to Wayne State University Fund Office, 5475 Woodward, Detroit, MI 48202. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Swanson Funeral Home.

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