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The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt

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Information about The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt

Profile image of The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt

Profession

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

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Buffalo
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Lake Tahoe
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/2/1927
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

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

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Buffalo
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Lake Tahoe
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
7/2/1927
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Leo Ellwood Holt, a retired Cook County Circuit Court judge, was born July 2, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois to Laverne Hamilton Holt and Pullman porter Miller Holt. Attending Willard Elementary School and Englewood High School, he dropped out at age sixteen to become a cook on the Santa Fe Railroad. After briefly returning to Englewood High, Holt joined the United States Army in 1945 and earned his diploma. In 1947, Holt enrolled at Wilson Junior College and received his A.A. degree in 1949. After studying accounting and business law at Roosevelt University, Holt entered John Marshall Law School, graduating with his L.L.B. degree in 1959.

In 1960, Holt passed the bar, got married and began private practice with former classmate, Earl Taylor. Working with attorney James Montgomery to defend Al Raby, Dick Gregory and other Chicago open housing activists, Holt’s involvement bolstered the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Reverend Jesse L. Jackson. Holt was elected judge of Circuit Court of Cook County in 1986. In 2003, Holt received the Charles E. Freeman Award from the Illinois Judicial Council.

Holt’s honors include the Richard Westbrook Award from Cook County Bar Association in 1975; the Robert Ming Award from the Cook County Bar Association in 1981; the Operation Push Community Service Award in 1981 and the South Suburban Leadership Council Community Service Award in 1985. Holt is an outspoken advocate of increasing the number of African Americans in the judiciary. Father of two grown daughters, Holt lives in Chicago.

See how The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes his mother's education and occupations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Leo Holt describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt recalls growing up during the Great Depression
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes his childhood household
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes his childhood personality and interests
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes his elementary school and Chicago's Wabash Avenue YMCA
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt remembers attending Metropolitan Community Church
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes his family's conversion to Christian Science
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt remembers attending Frances E. Willard Elementary School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt recalls his favorite childhood radio programs
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt recalls his childhood activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt recalls prominent figures from his youth in Chicago
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes growing up in Chicago's Ida B. Wells Homes
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt recalls dropping out of high school to work
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt recalls passing the GED
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes his experiences in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt recalls attending Woodrow Wilson Junior College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes his aspirations to be a lawyer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt recalls the colleges he attended
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes completing his Bachelor of Law degree
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt recalls his early experiences as a lawyer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes discrimination against African American professionals
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes his experiences as a public defender
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes being fired from the Cook County Department of Welfare
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt recalls being indicted on insurance fraud charges
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood recalls fighting charges of insurance fraud and T.R.M. Howard
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt recalls defending gang members as a criminal defense attorney
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes his experiences as a criminal defense attorney
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt shares his thoughts on the death penalty
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt shares his thoughts on the Illinois State's Attorney's office
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Leo Holt talks about racism within the court system
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt shares his opinion of Richard M. Daley's tenure as the Cook County state's attorney
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt talks about Illinois attorney generals
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt explains the purpose of criminal defense lawyers
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt talks about the O.J. Simpson murder trial
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes the Rodney King trial and O.J. Simpson's murder trial
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt recalls becoming a judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt recalls representing protesters during the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt shares his judicial philosophy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt reflects upon the mass incarceration of African American men
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt shares his thoughts on sentencing offenders
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt explains his sentencing for William Lique, Jr.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes his verdict in the Kenyatta White case
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood talks about a person's constitutional right to bail
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt reflects upon racial disparities in sentencing
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes the use of victim impact statements in criminal cases
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes his community involvement
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt talks about his family
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Leo Ellwood Holt describes how he would like to be remembered