United States District Court Judge Denise Page Hood was born in Columbus, Ohio on February 21, 1952. After attending high school at the Columbus School for Girls, Hood earned her bachelor's degree from Yale College in 1974. She went on to graduate from the Columbia University School of Law in 1977.
In 1982, after working as an assistant corporation counsel for the City of Detroit Law Department for five years, Hood began her career behind the bench. As a judge, she served Detroit's 36th District Court, Recorder's Court and Wayne County Circuit Court. Her reputation in the legal community garnered her a nomination to the United States District Court from President Bill Clinton. On June 16, 1994, Hood was officially appointed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, becoming the first African American judge to join the Eastern District of Michigan bench in thirteen years. In this role, she has presided over both criminal and civil cases, including the Dow Corning bankruptcy/breast implant case involving the $3.1 billion Settlement Facility-Dow Corning Trust. She is also chair of the Pro Bono Committee of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan.
Over the course of her career, Hood has participated in numerous professional organizations. She has served as chair of the Michigan State Planning Body for legal services, the State Bar Pro Bono Initiatives Committee, and the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Foundation Board. She became the first African American female president of the Detroit Bar Association in 1993 and has also acted as the president of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan. In addition, she has contributed to numerous community organizations, and has served as a board member for the Lula Belle Stewart Center, the Cyprian Center and the Interim House; as vice chair of the Olivet College Board of Trustees and the Harper-Hutzel Hospital Board of Trustees; and chair of the InsideOut Literary Arts Project Board.
Hood’s honors include the Damon J. Keith Community Spirit Award; the Ebeneezer A.M.E. Church Woman of Distinction Award; the Columbus School for Girls' CSG Alumnae Award; the 2005 Michigan Anti-Defamation League’s Women of Achievement Award; the 2008 Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Award of Excellence; the Michigan Women’s Foundation’s 2008 Women of Achievement and Courage Award; the 2008 “Powerful Woman of Purpose” Award presented by the Rhonda Walker Foundation; the Olivet College 2009 Leadership in Individual & Social Responsibility Award; and the Fair Housing Center of Metro Detroit’s 2013 “Fair Housing Attorney Appreciation Award.”
Denise Page Hood was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 22, 2002.