The Black Community

MABL is committed to the overall goal of representing the interests of Black citizens and their community in the legal profession and in the judicial system throughout the state. As part of its mission, MABL, though its members and its Board, attempts to address legal issues affecting the Black community in Minnesota and advance education, excellence, and racial equity in the pursuit of justice. With this page, MABL highlights the achievements of its members as they strive to live MABL's mission and provides resources and information about social justice and racial equity projects and initiatives that affect Black Minnesotans.

Max Mason Pardon

It's been almost 100 years since a 21-year-old African American man from Alabama was arrested and convicted for the rape of a white woman in Minnesota. The state's Board of Pardons unanimously granted a posthumous pardon to Max Mason on Friday, June 12, 2020. Jerry Blackwell, MABL member and founding partner, CEO, and chairman of Blackwell Burke P.A., argued in support of the pardon.

Thank you Jerry and all that you do for racial equity and justice!

Articles, Events, Community Support, and Community Resources


MABL Celebrates the Historic Appointment of Justice Natalie Hudson to Serve As Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court 

MABL offers its congratulations to Justice Hudson and its appreciation to Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan. Chief Justice Hudson is a supremely excellent appointment. She is brilliant, collaborative, principled, and committed to the pursuit of fairness.

Click here for the Press Release prepared by Governor Walz.

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MABL Statement | MABL Law School Pipeline Bill

The MABL Law School Pipeline Bill is no longer a dream but a reality. The bill appropriates $700,000 over two years to MABL to stand up a program to assist Minnesota college students who aspire to be law students.

Click here for the full statement.


MABL Statement | George Floyd Remembrance Statement

On May 25, 2020, the world lost George Floyd to racism, violence, and police misconduct. The brutality and inhumanity of Mr. Floyd’s murder were captured in undeniable technical color and broadcasted around the world, leading to a global outcry for accountability.

Click here for the full statement.


Law Schools Must Do Better to Address Racism in Law

My law school experience has shaped my worldview and challenged me internally on what kind of lawyer I want to become. It has also reaffirmed my commitment to racial justice. In particular, what has stuck out to me is discussions of how race influences the law and how lawyers are trained to understand race in the law.

Click here for the full article published by Attorney At Law Magazine.


Black History Is US History 

In the wake of the murder of Tyre Nichols, in the wake of the memory of George Floyd, in the wake of the anniversary of Amir Locke on the land that once held Dred Scott captive, we are reminded that Black history is a history of carrying the hope of freedom even in our darkest days; our history is one of struggle and beautiful resilience in the face hopeless violence and loss and unspeakable love and hope.

Click here for the full essay.


MABL Statement | Confirmation of Jerry Blackwell to Serve as a Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota

Today is a momentous day for the legal community with the confirmation of the Honorable Jerry Blackwell to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. The Honorable Jerry Blackwell is a visionary, trailblazer, distinguished attorney, and founding member of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL).

Click here for a full copy of the PDF statement.


Minnesota’s first Black district court judge honored with Ramsey County Law Library portrait

The Ramsey County Law Library in downtown St. Paul recently celebrated the donation of the first portrait of Stephen L. Maxwell, the first Black judge appointed to the Ramsey County bench and to a district court bench in the state of Minnesota.

The portrait was donated two years ago by Maxwell’s granddaughter, but the ceremony was delayed due to COVID-19, library director Shannon Stoneking said.

Click here for a full article published by the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.


MABL President Dana Mitchell Writes Op-Ed: New court term threatens further assault on African Americans

Race is on the docket once again, proving that no matter the results, we shouldn't claim victory. This month the United States Supreme Court begins a new term. The docket includes a challenge to affirmative action programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina. Another case involves a provision of the Voting Rights Act. At issue is whether Alabama engaged in racial gerrymandering to limit the influence of African American voters.

Click here for a full PDF Copy of the Statement.


MABL's Statement | MABL Stand with Women For Their Rights!

We are heartbroken by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization) that overturned 50 years of precedent that made a woman's right to choose a legal right. The right to choice, agency, and decision-making between a pregnant person and their health care provider has been upended. Instead, in some states a woman’s choice is being substituted by state legislatures.

Click here for a full PDF Copy of the Statement.


MABL's Statement | MABL Congratulates Jerry Blackwell

MABL celebrates President Joe Biden‘s nomination of Jerry W. Blackwell to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. Not only is Mr. Blackwell an outstanding advocate for his clients, but he has also been a champion of racial and social justice issues. At the invitation of Minnesota Attorney General, Keith Ellison, Mr. Blackwell volunteered to serve as special prosecutor in the trial of Derek Chauvin, who was ultimately sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd here in Minneapolis.

Click here for a full PDF Copy of the Statement.


MABL's Statement Regarding the Confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

April 7, 2022, marked an important historical moment with the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court. The soon to be Associate Supreme Court Justice is the epitome of the American dream, showing that we (especially Black women and girls) deserve a seat at the table, and we too are America.

Click here for a full PDF Copy of the Statement.

Photo courtesy of DoingFedTime


Black Name Discrimination: An Issue You Know With a History You Have Yet to Hear - by Develyn Mistriotti

Our names are not merely devices used to present individuated identities to the world. Names are our psychological foundations. They situate our sense of self in the broader breasts of society and history by connecting us to the beliefs and values that have influenced our cultures and those of our progenitors. Our names reflect who we are, and they tell stories of how we became ourselves. It is often this connection—to family and our communities—that causes us to take pride in our names.

Click here for the full article.

Published by the Minnesota Journal of Law and Inequality


MABL's Statement | No More No Knock Warrants | Everyone Deserves the Right to Answer the Door

We are saddened and mourn the killing of Amir Locke. Amir was a brother, son, friend, and community member whose light was extinguished by multiple gunshot wounds, caused by the Minneapolis Police Department’s decision to execute a no-knock search warrant. His manner of death is homicide. He did not have a criminal record. He was not the subject of the search warrant. Despite that, he became a victim of bad policies and practices of the Minneapolis Police Department that disproportionately effect (and kill) Black and Brown people.

Click here for a full PDF Copy of the Statement.


Banning of No-Knock Warrants in Minnesota 

Knock First Minnesota is a non-partisan initiative created by the Community Justice Project. The mission of this initiative is to ban the use of no-knock warrants in Minnesota through comprehensive legislation. Our vision is that every Minnesotan will have the opportunity to answer the door.

Click here to see their petition.

Click here to see their infographic that includes the 5 key elements they outlined for an effective ban.


MABL's Statement Regarding Four Recent Criminal Cases

MABL stands with the families of the victims, Jacob Blake, Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, GaigevGrosskreutz, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Daunte Wright. Each one of the shootings was preventable. The failure of police officers to protect Black citizens and allies protesting injustice, is a damning indictment of our system of law enforcement. For example, not only did police officers allow Rittenhause, a 17-year-old armed vigilante with no law enforcement training, to roam the streets unchecked, but they supplied him with water and thanked him for his presence just 15 minutes before his killings.

Click here for a full PDF Copy of the Statement


State law firm diversity lags nation.But corporate law departments match U.S. rates, data project finds

Median ethnic and racial representation in participating Minnesota corporate law departments is on par with U.S. market representation rates. But the state’s law firms still are significantly below their peers nationally in such representation, according to a new report on diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

Change in representation of ethnic and racial minorities was essentially flat from 2018 to 2020, according to the report from the Minnesota Coalition of Bar Associations of Color (MN-CBAC).

Click here for the full article.

Published by Minnesota Lawyer


Medtronic Funds Scholarships Named for Pioneering Judges Pamela Alexander '77 and Michael Davis '72

Thanks to a generous gift from Medtronic, Minnesota Law has created two new scholarships named after trailblazing alumni. The Judge Pamela G. Alexander ’77 Scholarship and Judge Michael J. Davis ’72 Scholarship were established to support law students who show a commitment to social justice and exhibit outstanding potential for legal work as civil rights or public interest attorneys

Click here for the full article.

Published by the University of Minnesota Law School


Celebrating Juneteenth!


Celebrating our Legacy - African Americans that shaped the Minnesota judiciary

During Black History Month, we pause to salute and reflect on the contributions African Americans have made to the Minnesota Judiciary. There are many untold stories that show the best of African Americans who stepped forward when called, broke the color barrier, and made Minnesota better because of their contributions.

Please click here for a full PDF of the selected short bios and full list of these trailblazing Americans.

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Celebrating our Legacy - African Americans that shaped public life in Minnesota 

During Black History Month, we pause to salute and reflect on the contributions African Americans have made to the State of Minnesota. There are many untold stories that show the best of African Americans who stepped forward when called, broke the color barrier, and made Minnesota better because of their contributions.

Please click here for a full PDF of the selected short bios and full list of these trailblazing Americans.

MLK Stock Photo

In Remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

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MABL Congratulates Vice President-elect Kamala Harris

It is with pride and exultation that we extend our heartful congratulations to Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris. As we celebrate this key moment in our history, we join the nation and world in giving special recognition to Vice President-elect Harris’ accomplishment.

Click here for a full PDF Copy of the Statement

Art created by Graham Lees




Diversity panel sees much room for improvement

The Twin Cities have been the epicenter of this year’s national discussion on systemic racism that some argue pervades not only law enforcement organizations, but businesses across all industries. In a recent virtual presentation of a new report on diversity and inclusion data within the Twin Cities legal community, a panel of notable lawyers excoriated the lack of diversity in the metro’s legal community and challenged both law firms and corporate legal divisions to step up their efforts to assemble more diverse teams.

Click here for the full article.

Published in

Color Fist

Remaking America into a House of Equality

In September, Attorney at Law Magazine partnered with the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL) to host a panel discussion with representatives from seven Minnesota bar organizations, moderated by the Honorable JaPaul J. Harris. The purpose of this discussion was to give a voice to affinity bars in the wake of recent tragedies — including the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others.

Click here for the full article.

Published in

X-ray Community Page


Moyana Olivia, an artist from Minnesota, wrote X-RAY to raise awareness to racial injustice and encourage people to take tangible action against police brutality by voting in the general election of November 2020. Click here for more information on how to vote in your state.

Artists: Moyana Olivia and Mac Turner | Producer: Best Buy Tech Center Coordinator J.T. Evans | Director: New School Media | Music Collective: Royal Family Music Group


Statement to Breonna Taylor

Dear Breonna Taylor,

We have no words. We are tired – tired of talking about inequities in the criminal justice system and the devaluation of Black Lives. We feel your pain. In fact, we feel pain every day.

Click here for a full PDF Copy of the Statement


Statement Against Criminalization of Black and Brown Victims

On May 25, 2020, four Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd. Minnesota, the rest of our country, and the world witnessed the last minutes of Mr. Floyd's life; Floyd, a father, a son, and, more importantly, a human being, lay with his head pressed into the cement, empty hands bound with cuffs, pleading for mercy and the comfort of his dead mother.

Click here for a full PDF Copy of the Statement

Published in Insight News - Click here


African American Leadership Forum's COVID-19 Resources 

MABL stands in solidarity with the many organizations assisting Black Minnesotans through the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis. Of those, MABL highlights AALF's COVID-19 resource page as good repository for useful information to guide Black Minnesotans. Click here to go to the resource page.

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Legal Diversity: 30 Years in the Trenches

More than a few of those leading legal diversity efforts in our profession are strangers to relatively recent history. That history can teach important lessons in an ethnically unrepresentative legal community that is still nearly 80% white and that still lags nearly all professions nationwide in minority inclusion.

Click here for the full article.

Published in


Bending Toward Justice: The Black Experience in the Minnesota Judiciary

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." In the Minnesota judiciary, the moral arc has been long yet has bent toward justice.

Click here for the full article.

Published in


Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man

MABL asks its allies and others struggling with questions and concepts surrounding racial equality and equity, and the difficult questions that are uncomfortable to ask and even more difficult to listen to, to view Emmanuel Acho's series "Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man."