Portrait Of First African- American Ohio Supreme Court Justice Dedicated

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A portrait of the late Ohio Supreme Court Justice Robert M. Duncan was dedicated Thursday at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center.

During an official session of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor remarked on Justice Duncan’s many firsts, including being the first African American to serve on the court.

“And history shows that Bob Duncan paved the way for others on this court, in the legal profession, and in his community,” Chief Justice O’Connor said.

Duncan was the 124th justice and served on the court from 1969 until 1971. His daughter Tracey Duncan Turner and other members of the Duncan family presented the life-like portrait by Toledo artist Leslie Adams.

“I think he would be overwhelmed with gratitude and I think he would feel very, very humbled and very, very honored to have this portrait installed in this court,” Duncan Turner commented after the ceremony.

Speakers at the ceremony reflected on Justice Duncan’s legacy, including his 1977 decision while on the U.S. District Court in which he ordered Columbus City Schools desegregated.

“His legacy includes the many minds and hearts he touched – people who continue to strive for his high standards, and help others as Bob Duncan helped them,” said attorney Alex Shumate, who served with Justice Duncan on The Ohio State University Board of Trustees.

Justice Duncan died last November at the age of 85.

Stephanie Beougher is reporter for Court News Ohio.