In this final installment of our series highlighting stories of the achievements and challenges faced by some of the most distinguished women judges in our history, we speak with former Chief Justice Peggy Quince of the Florida Supreme Court, who is featured in the ABA’s recently published Her Honor – Stories of Challenge and Triumph from Women Judges, edited by Lauren Rikleen.
Raised by a single father in Virginia with her four siblings, Chief Justice Peggy Quince learned early on what it means to be treated unfairly. In 1954, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the policy of “separate but equal” justifying segregation in schools was unconstitutional in the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education. The decision had little practical or positive impact on the course of young Peggy’s education – many white schools actively resisted efforts to integrate, with some shuttering for years to avoid it. Still she persevered.
Justice Quince tells us about the profound influence her father, Solomon Quince, had on her education. He was determined to afford his children the education he had been denied. Peggy excelled at school and after graduating from Howard University, she was inspired by both the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement, to pursue a career in the law. In 1993, she was appointed to the Second District Court of Appeal and then in 1999, she was appointed as the first African American woman to serve as a Justice on the Florida Supreme Court. From 2008-2010, she served as Chief Justice.
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