Graham T. Perry

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Graham T. Perry
Born (1894-04-22)April 22, 1894
Columbia, Tennessee
Died September 9, 1960(1960-09-09) (aged 66)
Alma mater Morehouse College
Northwestern University School of Law (J.D., 1923)
Occupation Attorney
Spouse(s) Laura Pearl Gant
Children Shauneille Perry

Graham T. Perry (1894–1960) was a prominent African-American attorney who served as assistant attorney general for the State of Illinois. He is also the father of stage director Shauneille Perry and uncle of playwright Lorraine Hansberry.


According to the 1900 U.S. Census, Perry was born in April 1894[1] (some sources indicate either April 22, 1897[2] or April 22, 1900[3][4] ) in Columbia, Tennessee,[2][3] the youngest child of the Rev. George W. Perry,[1] an escaped former slave,[5] and Charlotte "Lottie" Organ. He received his elementary and secondary school education in Columbia, then attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1923, he received the degree of juris doctor from the Northwestern University School of Law.[6]

He was very active in civil rights, having served as vice president of the Chicago branch of the NAACP.[7]

In 1941, he was elected to the post of assistant attorney general for the State of Illinois.[6] After Nathan K. McGill, he was one of the first African Americans to hold that position in the state.[8][9] No African American would serve as a state's attorney general until Edward Brooke was elected Attorney General of Massachusetts in 1962.[10]

He died on September 9, 1960[3][4] and is buried at the Burr Oak Cemetery[4] near Chicago.


  1. ^ a b "Twelfth Census of the United States (1900) [database on-line], Columbia, Maury County, Tennessee, Enumeration District: 78, Page: 15A, Line: 8, household of George W. Perry". United States: The Generations Network. 1900-06-18. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  2. ^ a b "World War I Draft Registration Card [database on-line]". United States: The Generations Network. 1918. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  3. ^ a b c Chicago Bar Record. Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Bar Association. 42: 348–349. 1960.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ a b c "Burr Oak Cemetery Information [database on-line]". Chicago, Illinois: Cook County Sheriff's Office. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  5. ^ Scheader, Catherine (1998). Lorraine Hansberry: Playwright and Voice of Justice (First Library ed.). Springfield, New Jersey: Enslow Publishers. p. 24. 
  6. ^ a b Jones, Edward Allen (1967). A candle in the dark: a history of Morehouse College. Valley Forge, Pennsylvania: Judson Press. p. 243. 
  7. ^ Wilkins, Roy, ed. (July 1935). "Branch news". Crisis. New York, New York: Crisis Publishing Company, Inc. 42 (7): 216. 
  8. ^ Yenser, Thomas, ed. (1938–1940). Who's Who in Colored America: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Persons of African Descent in America. Brooklyn, New York: Who's Who in Colored America. 
  9. ^ King, Woodie (2003). The Impact of Race: Theatre and Culture (First ed.). New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. pp. 145–146. 
  10. ^ Brooke, Senator Edward W. (2007). Bridging the Divide: My Life. New Brunswick, New Jersey and London: Rutgers University Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-8135-3905-8.