from AAMLO 8

Lawrence Yates Sledge (March 8, 1874 – March 22, 1957) was one of the first black lawyers in Alameda County, beginning his practice here in 1908. He was also one of the founders of the California Voice newspaper in 1919, and of the Charles Houston Bar Association in 1955.

Some sources say Sledge was the first black lawyer in Alameda County, 1 but Washington Oglesby was admitted in 1896. Sledge was admitted to the bar of Washington State in 1897, and began practicing in Oakland in 1908. 2

1910 ad

Sledge was on the board of the local NAACP in 1913. 3

Sledge married Chlora Hayes Polk (Sledge) on August 29, 1917 in Oakland. Chlora was active in local organizations, and was on the board of the Fannie Wall Children's Home and Day Nursery. She was president of the California Federation of Colored Women's Clubs c.1930.

Both Sledges were involved in the effort to have Oscar De Priest, the only black person in the U.S. Congress at the time, come to the Bay Area to speak in 1929. 1,7

Chlora Hayes Sledge presents check to two women. c.1950s 4Chlora Hayes Sledge (left). c.1950s 5

Links and References

  1. Early Black Lawyers in Northern California Charles Houston Bar Association newsletter 2005

  2. The Roots of Justice: Crime and Punishment in Alameda County, California

  3. Club to Arrest Race Prejudice Oakland Tribune April 14, 1913

  4. MS01_B05_F07_011 Colored Women's Clubs Associations Collection, African America Museum and Library at Oakland

  5. H95.18.1005 Oakland Tribune Collection, Oakland Museum of California

  6. MS01_B03_F09_002 - letter from Chlora Hayes Sledge to Fannie Wall staff Colored Women's Clubs Associations Collection, African America Museum and Library at Oakland

  7. De Priest Urges Political Equality for U.S. Negroes Oakland Tribune September 27, 1929

  8. MS189_1434 African American Museum and Library at Oakland