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Biography of Judge Walter E. Black, Jr.

Senior District Judge Walter E. Black, Jr. was born in 1926 in Baltimore, Maryland. Judge Black earned his A.B. degree (magna cum laude) in 1947 from Harvard University, and his LL.B. degree from Harvard University Law School in 1949.

Immediately following law school, Judge Black joined the firm of Hinkley and Singley as an associate, where he remained until 1953. From 1953-55, Judge Black served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Maryland. In 1956, Judge Black returned to private practice, rejoining the firm of Hinkley and Singley, where he became partner. Four months later he was appointed United States Attorney, returning to private practice in 1957 as a partner in Hinkley and Singley. In 1968, Judge Black became a partner of the successor firm of Clapp, Somerville, Black and Honemann.

Judge Black was nominated for appointment as United States District Judge by President Reagan on March 11, 1982, and his nomination was confirmed by the Senate on April 20, 1982. The following day, April 21, 1982, Judge Black received his commission. Judge Black was elevated to Chief Judge on March 8, 1991, and he remained there until he stepped down on October 21, 1994, to assume senior status. On June 30, 2003, Judge Black took inactive senior status, and passed away on September 29, 2014 in Easton, Maryland.

During Judge Black’s distinguished legal career, he served on numerous boards, committees and associations. He was Chairman of the Baltimore City Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals from 1963-67. From 1963-69, and again from 1976-82, Judge Black was on the Board of Directors of the Baltimore Urban League. Also, he served on the Board of Directors for Union Memorial Hospital, as well as the Hospital for Consumptives of Maryland.

Other distinguished service included Maryland Alternate Delegate, at the Republican National Convention in 1960 and a Delegate in 1964; Chairman of the Baltimore Republican City Committee from 1962-66; member, Mayor’s Advisory Committee for Workable Program for Community Improvement, Baltimore City, 1963-67; Chairman, Subcommittee on Community Planning Program, Mayor’s Task Force on Civil Rights, Baltimore City, 1965-67; member of the Jail Board, Baltimore City, 1971-73; member, Attorney Grievance Committee from 1978-82, Review Board from 1975-78 and chairman from 1975-76; and member of the Governor’s Commission to Revise Annotated Code, 1975-82.

Admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1949, Judge Black was also a member of the American, Maryland State and Baltimore City Bar Associations. Further, he was a member of the Lawyers’ Round Table, Rule Day Club, Harvard/Radcliffe Club of Maryland, and the Harvard Law School Association of Maryland.