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The Honorable Joseph Roulhac

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Information about The Honorable Joseph Roulhac

Profile image of The Honorable Joseph Roulhac

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Lawyer
Municipal Court Judge

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Florida
Favorite Quote:
Do Your Best.

Birthplace

Born:
8/18/1916
Birth Location:
Selma, Alabama

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Lawyer
Municipal Court Judge

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Florida
Favorite Quote:
Do Your Best.

Birthplace

Born:
8/18/1916
Birth Location:
Selma
See how The Honorable Joseph Roulhac is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Joseph Daniel Roulhac was born on August 18, 1916, in Selma, Alabama. His father, Robert, was a Presbyterian minister and his mother, Minerva, was a teacher. Roulhac earned a reputation in Akron, Ohio, as a humane and fair judge who gave his personal attention to every individual who came into his courtroom.

Roulhac’s family moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, when he was ten, and to Titusville, Georgia, four years later. He attended religious schools and received his high school diploma from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa in 1934. In 1938, Roulhac graduated with his B.A. degree in sociology from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He worked there after graduation as a sociology instructor for a year while earning his M.A. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1940. He taught at Fort Valley State College in Georgia until 1941. The U.S. Army drafted him in 1942, and Roulhac attained the rank of master sergeant within months. Everything went well until he refused to justify the Army’s segregation to his black subordinates. Weeks later, Roulhac was shipped to the Philippine Islands. When he returned to the United States in 1946, he used the G.I. Bill to attend the University of Pennsylvania, earning his J.D. degree. In 1948, Roulhac moved to Akron and went into private practice as an attorney. He became an assistant county prosecutor in 1957. In 1967, Roulhac was elected as a municipal judge, serving thirty years before retiring in 1987.

Roulhac was a member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and has served in the NAACP, the Urban League, the Methodist Church and the American Legion. He was honored with the Thomas More Award in 1979. He and his wife, Frances Phoenix, have one child, Delores.

Roulhac passed away on March 5, 2008 at the age of 91.

Roulhac was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 2, 2002.

See how The Honorable Joseph Roulhac is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joseph Roulhac's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joseph Roulhac lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joseph Roulhac describes his mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joseph Roulhac describes his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joseph Roulhac describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joseph Roulhac shares memories of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joseph Roulhac recalls his elementary schools
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Joseph Roulhac describes his favorite teachers
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joseph Roulhac talks about attending Allen Normal School in Thomasville, Georgia and the Stillman Institute in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joseph Roulhac talks about his employer paying the deposit for his attending Lincoln University in Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joseph Roulhac describes attending Lincoln University in Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joseph Roulhac recalls his fellow students at Lincoln University, including Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah the future President of Ghana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joseph Roulhac describes the professors at Lincoln University in the late 1930s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joseph Roulhac describes attending the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joseph Roulhac talks about teaching at Fort Valley State College in Fort Valley, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Joseph Roulhac describes race and social class in the 1940s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Joseph Roulhac talks about his father's ministry
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joseph Roulhac talks about meeting black intellectual leaders like Alain Locke and Howard Thurman
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joseph Roulhac describes seeing Howard Thurman speak at Miami University in Ohio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joseph Roulhac describes Benjamin Elijah Mays
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joseph Roulhac talks about James A. 'Billboard' Jackson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joseph Roulhac talks about joining the U.S. Army during World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joseph Roulhac remembers being assigned to write procedural manuals during World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joseph Roulhac recalls being asked to leave Camp Lee for refusing to adhere to the U.S. Army's segregationist policies
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Joseph Roulhac describes his life path following World War II
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joseph Roulhac describes meeting his wife
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joseph Roulhac describes attending law school at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joseph Roulhac talks about moving to Akron, Ohio to practice law
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joseph Roulhac describes a case from his early legal career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joseph Roulhac talks about winning his famous case, Douglas v. Hubbard
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Joseph Roulhac describes his 1971 case the State v. Norwood
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Joseph Roulhac talks about the role of judges in preventing unjust charges
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Joseph Roulhac describes how he became a judge
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Joseph Roulhac narrates his photographs