The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Chester Blair

Share on Social Media

Information about Chester Blair

Profile image of Chester Blair

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Trial Lawyer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Freeport, Bahamas
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/2/1928
Birth Location:
Streetman, Texas

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Trial Lawyer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Freeport, Bahamas
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/2/1928
Birth Location:
Streetman
See how Chester Blair is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Attorney Chester L. Blair was born in Streetman, Texas on July 2, 1928. Blair left home at an early age to seek greater opportunity in the state of Washington. After falling ill from manual labor, Blair returned to Texas to complete high school. Deciding that he wanted to become a lawyer, he arrived in Chicago in April 1947 with a letter of introduction to the famous lawyer Euclid Taylor.

After working as a busboy and attending Fisk University for one year, Blair was hired by the post office and transferred to Chicago State University. He received his B.Ed. in 1952 and taught for the Chicago Public Schools for seven years. While teaching, he pursued master's level work at Roosevelt University and went on to earn a J.D. in 1959 from the John Marshall Law School, where he excelled in real estate law.

Upon completing his law degree, Blair went into private practice as a partner in Blair & Cole. His practice included criminal defense and personal injury cases. Blair became the first African American president of the Chicago Bar Association.

Throughout his career, Blair had served on numerous advisory committees for the Illinois Supreme Court and the American Bar Association. He was a member and former president of the Cook County Bar Association and a member of both the Illinois State Bar Association and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. He served on the boards of the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and the Chicago Bar Foundation. He was named a fellow of the American Bar Foundation in 1987. Blair had been a lecturer and professor for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. From 1984 to 1998, he wrote a weekly column for the Chicago Daily Defender.

Blair passed away on March 16, 2015 at the age of 86.

See how Chester Blair is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Chester Blair's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Chester Blair lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Chester Blair talks about his paternal grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Chester Blair describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Chester Blair describes his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Chester Blair describes his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Chester Blair describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Chester Blair describes his childhood personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Chester Blair describes the role of books and newspapers during his youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Chester Blair describes his experiences in grade school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Chester Blair describes how his paternal grandfather influenced him
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Chester Blair talks about the lack of respect whites had for blacks
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Chester Blair describes his experience working for a grocery store butcher
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Chester Blair describes his move from Houston, Texas to Hanford, Washington as a teenager, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Chester Blair describes his move from Houston, Texas to Hanford, Washington as a teenager, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Chester Blair describes his experiences working in Hanford, Washington and Vanport, Oregon
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Chester Blair describes how an illness ended his career as a laborer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Chester Blair talks about Vanport, Oregon
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Chester Blair talks about his group's singing on KALE radio in Portland, Oregon
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Chester Blair describes moving from Portland, Oregon to Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Chester Blair describes how a racist encounter at a library in Houston, Texas caused him to leave Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Chester Blair describes his search for a job in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Chester Blair describes his search for a job in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Chester Blair describes sleeping in train stations to save money for rent after moving to Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Chester Blair describes the financial difficulties he faced after attending Fisk University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Chester Blair describes his experiences attending Fisk University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Chester Blair describes his experiences serving as a photographer in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Chester Blair remembers the murder of Chicago Alderman Benjamin Lewis
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Chester Blair talks about Walter Shumpert and U.S. Congressman George Collins, who succeeded Alderman Benjamin Lewis after his murder
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Chester Blair describes defending 24th Ward elections officials against "Operation Eagle Eye" in 1968
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Chester Blair describes how the Chicago riots caused by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death destroyed his private practice
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Chester Blair describes an explosion that destroyed his office on South Dearborn Street
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Chester Blair talks about becoming a member of the Chicago Bar Association in 1959
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Chester Blair describes how working with the Chicago Bar Association inspired him to run for president of the organization
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Chester Blair describes being nominated as the first African American president of the Chicago Bar Association, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Chester Blair describes being nominated as the first African American president of the Chicago Bar Association, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Chester Blair describes what helped his nomination as the first African American president of the Chicago Bar Association
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Chester Blair Chester Blair describes his election as the first African American president of the Chicago Bar Association
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Chester Blair talks about establishing the Earl B. Dickerson Award
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Chester Blair talks about the recipients of the Earl B. Dickerson Award
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Chester Blair talks about his role models
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Chester Blair describes his preparation for his court cases, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Chester Blair describes his preparation for his court cases, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Chester Blair describes the role of a defense attorney
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Chester Blair describes how African Americans disproportionately receive jail sentences
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Chester Blair comments on how African Americans repress one another
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Chester Blair shares his hopes and concerns for the black community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Chester Blair reflects upon his legacy, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Chester Blair reflects upon his legacy, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Chester Blair describes the background of the 1940 "Hansberry v. Lee" case
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Chester Blair describes the 1940 "Hansberry v. Lee" case
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Chester Blair talks about how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Chester Blair narrates his photographs