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Daphne Barbee-Wooten

Maker interview details

Profile image of Daphne Barbee-Wooten


  • December 13, 2019



  • Born: June 7, 1955
  • Birth Location: Madison, Wisconsin


  • Favorite Color: Purple
  • Favorite Food: Li Hing Mui
  • Favorite Time of Year: Spring
  • Favorite Vacation Spot: Port Antonio, Jamaica

Favorite Quote

"Power Concedes Nothing Without A Struggle - Frederick Douglass"
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Lawyer Daphne Barbee-Wooten was born on June 7, 1955 in Madison, Wisconsin to Lloyd A. and Roudaba Bunting Barbee. She received her B.A. degree in philosophy in 1975 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her J.D. degree in 1979 from the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle, Washington.

Following law school, Barbee-Wooten was hired as an attorney at the Office of Women’s Rights and the Office of Human Rights in Seattle, Washington, working there from 1979 to 1980. The next year, she moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where she was hired by the State of Hawaii as a public defender. Barbee-Wooten founded a private practice in 1984, focusing on civil rights litigation, family, labor, and appellate law, as well as employment discrimination and criminal law. She served as the independent grand jury counsel for the First Circuit Court in Honolulu from 1985 to 1986, and as a Hawaii Civil Rights Commissioner from 1989 to 2001. Admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1996, Barbee-Wooten served as the first senior trial attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Hawaii from 1998 until 2001, after which she returned to private practice.

She served as commissioner for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Hawaii
from 2007 to 2009. She also was a member of the African American Lawyers Association of Hawaii since 1979, and the National Bar Association since 2010.

Barbee-Wooten is the author of several books, including African American attorneys in Hawaii (2010) and Justice For All, Selected Writings of Lloyd A. Barbee (2017). She also contributed to They Followed the Tradewinds: African American History in Hawaii (2005).

In 2014, she received a lifetime achievement award from the Hawaii NAACP, the Certificate of Special Recognition from Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, the Certificate of Congressional Recognition from US Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI); and, in 2016, she received the Civil Rights Attorney of the Year Award from Sisters Empowering Hawaii.

Daphne Barbee-Wooten was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2019.