Sharing with the Next Generation

Sharing with the Next Generation group shot
Maryland’s top jurist, Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, has been named a “History Maker,” part of a nationwide network of African Americans who have had a significant impact or who have been involved with an event, time or organization of importance to African Americans.

Judge Bell takes part in the annual “Back to School with the History Makers,” a program to share personal stories with students. When Judge Bell talks to high school students in Maryland about his personal and professional path to the top of the state’s judicial branch as chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals, he also shares the fact that he was arrested while still in high school as part of a civil rights protest.

In 1960, Judge Bell was a rising senior and student government president at Dunbar High School in Baltimore when he joined 11 other African-American students who were refused service at a downtown Baltimore restaurant and were arrested and convicted for trespassing. That arrest spawned a landmark civil rights case, Bell v. Maryland, which went through the Maryland court system and eventually was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, signaling an end to de facto racial segregation in Maryland.

The Annual Back to School with the History Makers event is sponsored by The History Makers, a national nonprofit research and educational institution.