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Judge Higginbotham
The late Honorable A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. founded the nonprofit organization of Exodus to Excellence, Inc. in 1992. 

A. Leon Higginbotham Jr., who called himself ''a survivor of segregation’’, became one of the country's most prominent African-American judges.  Judge Higginbotham, a legal scholar, author and historian, was an influential Federal judge for 29 years until he retired in 1993. He often used the story of his own life, which began in an era of discrimination in Trenton, as an example of how what he called voiceless and forgotten people could overcome obstacles if they had help.

From 1977 until he retired in 1993, Higginbotham served as Circuit Judge and Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, PA. He was appointed a Federal district court judge in 1964 and a court of appeals judge in 1977. Judge Higginbotham also taught as an adjunct professor at the law schools of Harvard University, the University of Michigan, New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University and Yale University.
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He was only the third black jurist to have directed any one of the country's circuit courts, the 12 Federal appeals panels that are second in importance only to the United States Supreme Court. Some historians say Judge Higginbotham was one of a handful of black jurists President Lyndon B. Johnson considered as candidates to integrate the Supreme Court before he named Thurgood Marshall the first black Justice in 1967.
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Judge Higginbotham was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation's highest civilian honor in September 1995. He became a Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on November 30, 1995. He received more than 60 honorary degrees and numerous local, regional and national honors.

Judge Higginbotham was born in Trenton, New Jersey on February 25, 1928. He earned a bachelor's degree from Antioch College in 1949 and the juris doctor degree from Yale University Law School in 1952.

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Exodus To Excellence, Inc. (ETE) is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
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