Judge Brenda H. Cole was born on January 25, 1943 in Joaquin, Texas to Eulalia and Garfield Hill. She attended Weldon High School, in Gladewater, Texas where her father was the principal, and her mother a teacher. An excellent student, Cole was valedictorian of her graduating class in 1959. She attended Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, received her B.A degree in English in 1963, her M.A degree in library science at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) in 1967 and her J.D degree from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in 1977.
After her admission to the State Bar of Georgia, Cole began her law career as the Assistant Attorney General in the Fiscal Affairs Division of the Georgia State Law Department, a position she held for five years. After moving to West Virginia, she was employed as counsel for the West Virginia Department of Corrections in Charleston, West Virginia and was admitted to the West Virginia State Bar. Cole served as Assistant Attorney General in the Tax Division of the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office, and as Deputy Attorney General of the West Virginia Environmental and Energy Division.
Returning to Atlanta, Cole rejoined the Georgia State Law Department, serving first as Assistant Attorney General for the Environmental Division; then, Senior Assistant Attorney General, heading the Business and Professional Regulations Division; and later, Deputy Attorney General before her appointment as a State Court Judge in 1998. She retired in 2012 and was appointed as a Senior Judge by Governor Nathan Deal.
Cole has served as President of the Council of State Judges, and as a member of Links, Inc., the Dogwood Chapter and Atlanta’s Women Foundation. She is the founder of the Clark Atlanta University Guild, an organization which provides scholarships for arts and humanities students at Clark Atlanta University. She also serves on the boards of the Children’s Museum of Atlanta and Bar Fitness of Georgia.
Cole is married to Thomas Winston Cole, Jr., President Emeritus, Clark Atlanta University. They are the parents of Kelley S. Cole and Thomas Winston Cole, III.
Cole was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 19, 2007.