Loretta Biggs becomes U. S. judge

Loretta Biggs becomes U. S. judge
March 12
00:00 2015
(Above: Photo by Erin Mizelle- The Honorable Loretta Copeland Biggs, left, becomes the first African American female appointed to the federal bench in North Carolina as a U.S. District Court judge on Friday, March 6, 2015, at the United States District Court, located at 324 West Market St. in Greensboro, N.C.)

By Erin Mizelle , Special to The Chronicle

GREENSBORO — On Friday, March 6, 2015, history was made.

At the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, at 324 West Market St. in Greensboro, the Honorable Loretta Copeland Biggs, a Winston-Salem resident, became the first African-American woman appointed to the federal bench in North Carolina as a U.S. District Court judge.

She had been appointed by President Obama to fill a vacancy left open when Judge James Beaty Jr., also a Winston-Salem resident, took senior status last year.

Biggs was a partner at Allman Spry Davis Leggett Crumpler. The Spelman and Howard Law School graduate was a corporate attorney – with Coca-Cola – before serving as an assistant Forsyth County district attorney. She served as a local district court judge for nearly a decade.

The swearing-in ceremony on March 6 was one Biggs spoke of as “glorious” on several occasions, referring to what seemed to be a record number of attendance as family, friends, and colleagues filled not only one but two levels of the federal courthouse to show their love and support in congratulating Biggs on this day of accomplishment.

“She is going to have great challenges and she is going to have great successes, and I’ll be there every step along the way to support her,” Beaty said at the ceremony.  “I am honored to have Judge Biggs not replace me but instead join me on this bench for the great state of North Carolina. I could not be more proud of her.”

With the line-up of those speaking including some of Biggs’ most influential people in her life, the Honorable Patricia Timmons-Goodson, retired associate justice, perhaps said it best:

“There is a pattern when it comes to my dear friend, the Honorable Loretta Copeland Biggs,” Timmons-Goodson said, “and the pattern is this:  Wherever she has been planted, she has bloomed.”

Biggs ended the special ceremony by speaking of a painting that she once saw years ago hanging outside of the oval office at the White House in Washington, D.C.  It was titled “Promised” by Steven Scott Young. It was the painting of a young, black girl, holding an American flag. Nearly everyone in the courtroom showed teary-filled eyes as Biggs spoke of seeing herself in this little girl.

“In this little girl, I could see hope and I could see opportunity. I could see her dreaming that one day she could be whatever she wanted to be in this great United States of America,” Biggs said.

“My country has lived up to its promise to me, but it doesn’t stop here. I pray I become a symbol for all little boys and girls that anything is possible.”

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