By in Biographies on March 1, 2013

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Noah Parden changed American legal history, and yet for the most part, his story is unknown. His lowly start in life was as an orphan in Rome, Georgia during the post Civil War period. Defying all odds, he rose to become a prominent lawyer in Tennessee, Illinois and Missouri. Parden did something not many African American lawyers had previously done: He successfully argued a case before the United States Supreme Court. Many decades before Johnnie Cochran would practice law, Parden was already known as the black Clarence Darrow. During Noah Parden’s career he tried more than 200 homicide cases.

This biography tells the fascinating story of a brilliant African American attorney who, on one occasion had to flee in the middle of the night with his family to avoid a lynch mob, and on another occasion, fearlessly resisted a violent mob. This biography covers the compelling life story of Parden: as an orphan of uncertain ethnicity; as a farmhand who could read; as a student who suffered the consequences of being too poor to pay his tuition; as a successful entrepreneur who started several businesses; and as a gifted lawyer who set legal precedents that are still in place today.

Despite many disadvantages, Parden rose to the status of the elite and had many prominent friends, including a connection to the White House. And yet, for all his great achievements, he remains in relative obscurity to this day. This portrait celebrates the life of a truly remarkable human being-a supreme lawyer-whose story is an inspiration to all.

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