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Biography of Judge John R. Hargrove

District Judge John R. Hargrove born in Atlantic City, New Jersey on October 25, 1923.  Graduating from Frederick Douglass High School in 1941, Judge Hargrove joined the military following the U.S. entrance into World War II. He served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, attaining the rank of sergeant.  After the war, Judge Hargrove received a B.A. from Howard University in 1947 and graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1950.

Judge Hargrove spent five years in private practice before becoming the first African-American assistant U.S. attorney in Baltimore in 1950.  He was promoted to deputy U.S. attorney two years later. In 1962, Judge Hargrove was appointed Judge of the People’s Court, where he served briefly before forming the law firm Howard & Hargrove.  Judge Hargrove practiced at his firm until 1968, where he was appointed Judge of the Municipal Court of Baltimore City and served until the Municipal Court was reformed as the District Court of Baltimore City.  In the following years, Judge Hargrove served as the first Administrative Judge for the District Court and then rose to Associate Judge of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City in 1974.  In 1984, Judge Hargrove was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as Judge of the U.S. District Court of the District of Maryland. He served until his death in 1997.

Judge Hargrove was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1950, one of the first African-Americans to join the Association, and in 1967, he was elected as representative to the Maryland Constitutional Convention.  The John R. Hargrove, Sr. Building, the newest Baltimore City District Court House, is named in his honor.