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Rita Aliese Fry

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Information about Rita Aliese Fry

Profile image of Rita Aliese Fry

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Public Defender

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere
Favorite Quote:
You Can't Hit A Home Run Unless You Step Up To The Plate.

Birthplace

Born:
5/28/1946
Birth Location:
Memphis, Tennessee

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Public Defender

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere
Favorite Quote:
You Can't Hit A Home Run Unless You Step Up To The Plate.

Birthplace

Born:
5/28/1946
Birth Location:
Memphis
See how Rita Aliese Fry is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Rita Aliese Fry was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on May 28, 1946. Moving with her family to Chicago, Fry attended Catholic schools and graduated from high school in 1964. First attending Prairie State College in Chicago Heights for an A.A. in 1968, Fry then attended Loyola University of Chicago for a bachelor's degree in 1971. She later went on to attend Northwestern University School of Law, earning her J.D. in 1979.

Fry joined the Cook County Office of Public Defense in 1980, serving as an assistant public defender. She remained there until 1986, when she took a position with the city of Chicago Law Department as a supervisory attorney. Two years later, she returned to the Cook County Public Defender's Office, this time serving as the chief executive, where she remains in her second term today. The Office of the Cook County Public Defender is the largest public defender office in the country, with Fry supervising more than 500 attorneys.

Also active in public policy, Fry has worked as a consultant both in private practice and through government appointment. Governor George Ryan named her to the Illinois Commission on Capital Punishment, a panel that sought to reevaluate Illinois' administration of the death penalty. In 1994, she was selected by the president of the Supreme Court of Ethiopia to assist in establishing a public defender system in that country. Fry has received numerous awards, including the Phenomenal Women Award and the Sixth Amendment Award, and she remains active with a number of organizations, including serving as vice president of the Leadership Council of Greater Chicago and serving on the board of directors of the Lawyer Assistance Program. Fry and her husband, Adelbert, have one son, who is also an attorney.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rita Aliese Fry's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Rita Aliese Fry lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Rita Aliese Fry describes her parents' backgrounds
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rita Aliese Fry talks about her paternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rita Aliese Fry talks about her maternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rita Aliese Fry talks briefly about her great-grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rita Aliese Fry describers her father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rita Aliese Fry describes how her parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Rita Aliese Fry describes her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Rita Aliese Fry lists her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Rita Aliese Fry describes her childhood on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Rita Aliese Fry describes her childhood neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Rita Aliese Fry describes her experience at St. Mary High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Rita Aliese Fry describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rita Aliese Fry remembers Maxwell Street in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rita Aliese Fry describes her childhood social activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rita Aliese Fry describes being considered "sadiddy" by other schoolchildren
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rita Aliese Fry describes her love for the blues
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rita Aliese Fry remembers live blues performances on Maxwell Street in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rita Aliese Fry describes her childhood personality and interests
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rita Aliese Fry describes her experience at St. Charles Borremeo School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Rita Aliese Fry remembers a nun at St. Charles Borremeo School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rita Aliese Fry describes her experience at St. Mary High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rita Aliese Fry describes dating as a high school student at St. Mary Catholic High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rita Aliese Fry remembers having to take a summer course in Latin at St. Mary Catholic High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rita Aliese Fry describes being forbidden from attending the March on Washington in 1963
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rita Aliese Fry describes experiencing racial discrimination on her senior class trip to Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rita Aliese Fry describes her senior class trip to Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rita Aliese Fry describes attending the Cortez Peters Business College of Chicago and Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Rita Aliese Fry talks about her graduation from Loyola University and admittance to the Northwestern University School of Law
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Rita Aliese Fry talks about the assassinations of Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Rita Aliese Fry describes faculty members at the Northwestern School of Law in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rita Aliese Fry describes faculty members at the Northwestern School of Law in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rita Aliese Fry explains why she dropped out and then re-enrolled in law school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rita Aliese Fry describes clerking for HistoryMaker James D. "Jim" Montgomery
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rita Aliese Fry explains her decision to join the Public Defender's Office
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rita Aliese Fry describes her first day in the Public Defender's Office
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rita Aliese Fry describes a public defender's daily workload, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rita Aliese Fry describes a public defender's daily workload, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rita Aliese Fry describes her tenure in the felony division of the Public Defender's Office
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Rita Aliese Fry describes filing a discrimination lawsuit against the Public Defender's Office, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Rita Aliese Fry describes filing a discrimination lawsuit against the Public Defender's Office, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Rita Aliese Fry talks about the conviction rate in Chicago, Illinois during the Mayor Harold Washington Administration
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Rita Aliese Fry explains her job function as Senior Attorney and Supervisor for Municipal Prosecution under the Harold Washington Administration
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Rita Aliese Fry remembers Chicago Mayor Harold Washington
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Rita Aliese Fry describes her tenure as Senior Attorney and Supervisor for Municipal Prosecution under the Harold Washington Administration
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Rita Aliese Fry talks about her return to the Public Defender's Office in 1988 as First Assistant
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Rita Aliese Fry describes her first weeks in the Public Defender's Office as First Assistant
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Rita Aliese Fry describes her tenure as First Assistant in the Public Defender's Office
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Rita Aliese Fry talks about being sworn in as Public Defender of Cook County
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Rita Aliese Fry describes what she'd like her legacy to be as the Public Defender of Cook County
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Rita Aliese Fry critiques the juvenile justice system, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Rita Aliese Fry critiques the juvenile justice system, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Rita Aliese Fry talks about her defense of a client charged with manslaughter
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Rita Aliese Fry talks about social and economic inequalities that influence the rates of conviction and incarceration, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Rita Aliese Fry talks about social and economic inequalities that influence the rates of conviction and incarceration, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Rita Aliese Fry critiques the demand for increased policing in urban communities
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Rita Aliese Fry talks about repressive legislation
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Rita Aliese Fry considers possibly working in public policy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Rita Aliese Fry describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Rita Aliese Fry describes recent improvements in public defense
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Rita Aliese Fry narrates her photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Rita Aliese Fry narrates her photographs, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Rita Aliese Fry narrates her photographs, pt. 3