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Mercer Cook

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Information about Mercer Cook

Profile image of Mercer Cook

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
State Deputy Attorney

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
5/31/1930
Birth Location:
Washington, District of Columbia

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
State Deputy Attorney

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
5/31/1930
Birth Location:
Washington
See how Mercer Cook is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Mercer Cook, born May 31, 1930 in Washington, D.C., is an accomplished attorney in public and private practice with an interesting family story. His great grandfather John Hartwell Cook graduated from Oberlin College during the Civil War and was reportedly the first Dean of Howard University Law School. His grandfather, classically trained composer Will Marion (Mercer) Cook (1869-1945) collaborated on Broadway musicals with Paul Laurence Dunbar and Bert Williams. His father, (Will) Mercer Cook (1903-1987) was a noted scholar and translator from Howard University who served as United States Ambassador to Senegal and Nigeria.

Cook grew up in Atlanta, attending Oglethorpe Elementary School. He graduated from Dunbar High School in Washington D.C. in 1947. Cook earned a B.A. from Amherst College in 1951. He spent some time in Europe before returning to finish his J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1956. Cook’s brother, Jacques is also an attorney. From 1957, he was in private practice. In 1967, he was hired by the Cook (Illinois) County Legal Assistance Foundation. In 1970, Cook switched to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. He was Assistant State’s Attorney from 1970 to1989 and Deputy State’s Attorney from 1989-1993. From 1993 to 1996 Cook worked for the legal firm Gordon and Pikarski. He has remained in private practice since 1996.

Cook has three children: Antoinette, a lawyer, Mercer, a managing director of Citigroup, and Janice, senior vice president of New York City Investment Fund. Cook and his wife, Edwina, live in Chicago.

Cook passed away on January 4, 2018.

See how Mercer Cook is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mercer Cook's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mercer Cook lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Mercer Cook talks about his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mercer Cook talks about his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mercer Cook describes his paternal grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mercer Cook talks about his paternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mercer Cook tells a story about the origin of his grandfather's name and the origin of the 'Mercer' name
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mercer Cook describes his father's childhood and education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Mercer Cook describes living all over the world because of his father profession
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Mercer Cook talks about the his father's friends
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mercer Cook talks about visiting his parents in Niger
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mercer Cook describes his mother and his brother
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mercer Cook talks about the sights, sounds and smells of growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mercer Cook remembers W. E. B. Du Bois and many other great African Americans his father knew
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mercer Cook talks about his father's U.S. government friends in Paris, France
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mercer Cook talks about Josephine Baker
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mercer Cook talks about his father's friends and his paternal grandmother' family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mercer Cook describes his childhood education and teachers who helped him with English
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Mercer Cook describes going to Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. and his decision to go to Amherst College in Amherst Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Mercer Cook talks about going to Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts and trying to get a job in the U.S. State Department
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Mercer Cook talks about Richard Wright, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mercer Cook talks about Richard Wright, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mercer Cook talks about Negritude and Francophone writers his father knew in Paris, France
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mercer Cook describes his experience at University of Chicago Law School in Chicago, Illinois and graduating in 1956
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mercer Cook talks about his first wife, his children and his second wife
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mercer Cook describes his work after law school and his relationship with HistoryMaker Truman K. Gibson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mercer Cook describes his career progression at the Cook County Legal Defense Foundation and Cook County State's Attorney's Office
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mercer Cook describes working for the Cook County Illinois Department of Public Aid and the Cook County Illinois State's Attorney's Office
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Mercer Cook discusses a case he handled involving the Elks Memorial in Chicago, Illinois, and his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Mercer Cook describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Mercer Cook talks about his future plans
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Mercer Cook reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Mercer Cook describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Mercer Cook narrates his photographs