On April 17, Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.-07), U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) gathered to present a $1,750,000 check to the Juanita Jackson Mitchell Legal Center project for the restoration of the well-known legal office of Juanita Jackson Mitchell.
Mitchell was the first African-American woman to practice law in the state of Maryland and the first African-American woman to graduate from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law.
“This is a historic restoration. A place that will provide legal services once again for the residents of this community,” said Rev. Alvin Hathaway Sr., executive director of the Beloved Community Services Corporation. “It was the centerpiece of activism and communications.”
The renovated office will be the new home of Rebuild, Overcome, and Rise (ROAR), a project of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Mitchell’s alma mater, that provides wraparound legal services for victims of violence.
“We are looking forward to being in this building, being in this neighborhood and being able to honor the legacy of Juanita Jackson Mitchell,” said Lydia Watts, executive director of ROAR, “We’ve over the past four years helped over 500 people who had been impacted directly by violence and crime, about 70 percent of those by gun violence. People can’t do it alone. They have enormous strength and resilience, but they need a little help.”
Mitchell also founded the Baltimore City-Wide Young People’s Forum, was the head of the Baltimore NAACP while continuing to advocate for the Black community through legal counseling.
“She would always tell young women that you can do anything you want to do,” said former State Senator Michael Mitchell, son of Juanita Mitchell.
Legislators were able to garner funds for this project through the Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus appropriations legislation. Other secured funds from the omnibus bill are also supporting the East Baltimore Black Wax Museum and AFRO Charities.
“We are committed to making sure we do right for the community, and it’s been a pleasure in that regard,” said Cardin. “What an iconic family.”
Clarence M. Mitchell Jr., husband of Juanita Mitchell, was a dedicated NAACP lobbyist, Dr. Keiffer J. Mitchell Sr., practiced medicine on Druid Hill ave. for 40 years, Parren J. Mitchell, was the first Black person to serve as a Maryland legislator in the U.S. House of Representatives according to previous AFRO reporting.
Jade Newhouse, Juanita Mitchell’s granddaughter, was highlighted by the Mitchell’s at the ceremony as the next up and coming lawyer in the family. She currently works as a family judiciary clerk for the Maryland Judiciary in Baltimore County.