AfriGeneas States Research Forum
[AL] State's first black circuit judge dies
Cain James Kennedy, Alabama's first black circuit judge and a former legislator, died Friday. He was 68.
A retired Mobile County circuit judge, Kennedy was serving in the Alabama House in 1979, when Gov Fob James appointed him to be a domestic relations judge in Mobile County Circuit Court. Kennedy served in that position until he retired in 1998.
Kennedy was born in Thomaston in 1937 and moved to Prichard in 1953.
His academic record included a degree from Los Angeles City College and undergraduate and graduate degrees from California State University in Los Angeles.
He earned his law degree from George Washington University in 1971. He was a retired captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
He was elected to the Alabama House in 1974, the same year Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, was first elected. Holmes described Kennedy as a soft-spoken lawmaker, who was quick to learn the rules and procedures of the House, which he said was a necessity at a time when there were few black legislators.
Kennedy is survived by his wife, Brenda Kennedy, and two children, Celestine Carrie Johnson Kennedy and Richard Arthur Johnson Kennedy.
His funeral will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Whistler, with burial at 11:30 a.m. Friday in Glover's Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery.