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Site of the Month Boce W. Barlow Jr. House
31 Canterbury Street, Hartford, CT 06112

Boce W. Barlow, Jr. (1915-2005) was the first African American in the Connecticut judiciary and the first to be elected state senator in 1966. As a lawyer, prosecutor and judge, he worked for equal justice and assisted in the writing of Connecticut’s pioneering civil rights laws. Barlow was born in Americus, Georgia in 1915, but moved to Connecticut with his family the following year. Like many African American families of the time, they sought better employment opportunities in northern states. After graduating from high school in 1933, Barlow chose to go into the field of law, an uncommon decision in a time when most black leaders were ministers. He graduated cum laude from Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1939 and was accepted to Harvard Law School where he was one of four African American students in a class of 600. In 1957, he was appointed judge of Hartford’s municipal court, and, later, as a hearing examiner for Connecticut’s Civil Rights Commission. Throughout his career, he was a part of the major social and political reforms that opened doors for the black community and helped to bring them full citizenship status. His home is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This property is privately owned and not open to the public.



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