She Made History As The First Black Judge In Her City’s History And Her Father Swore Her In


January 27, 2021

A legacy of Black excellence.

Rebekah Coleman, who recently made history as the first Black judge of Harper Woods, Michigan, was just sworn in by her father, a judge, Black Enterprise reports.


Coleman is a veteran lawmaker, graduating from Michigan State in 2007 before earning her Juris Doctorate in 2010 at Wayne State Law School and a master’s from the University of Detroit Mercy in 2014. She made history, defeating incumbent Daniel Palmer in the November general election, winning the seat by a 53% majority, and becoming the first Black judge of Harper Woods in the city’s 69-year-history. Now, Coleman had the honor of being sworn in by her father, a judge. 

“I was able to share this very special moment with my father as he swore me in as Judge of the 32A District Court,” Coleman said. 

The Detroit native has already begun her six-year term as the district’s judge, focusing on community-based programs like literacy initiatives, alternative sentencing, legal aid for civil and landlord-tenant cases and drug and sobriety treatment programs for residents. 


“I am very excited to be the next judge of Harper Woods. I plan to bring a lot of positive changes, and I think the city is ready for it. Court is going to be a full-time operation, Monday through Friday. We need more community engagement to bridge the gap between the community and the judiciary,” said Coleman.

Harper took to social media to thank the community for their support and her late mother, who was also an attorney. 


Harper Woods, you spoke! You spoke in volumes! You spoke with your votes! You answered clearly and boldly the call for…

Posted by Rebekah R. Coleman for Judge on Wednesday, November 4, 2020


“Mom, I got it done and will continue to live the life that you helped prepare me for before you had to leave us. It has been 15 years, but there is not a moment that you are not missed,” Coleman wrote. 

In addition to being the first Black judge of Harper Woods, she is also the first woman magistrate to hold the position. 


Congratulations, Judge Coleman!

Photo Courtesy of Rebekah Coleman/Facebook

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