Faces of the Great Migration: Chuck Jefferson — ‘We are still realizing a lot of firsts’ – News – Rockford Register Star


ROCKFORD — Chuck Jefferson, Rockford’s first African-American to serve in the Illinois House of Representatives, introduced or co-sponsored numerous bills but is most proud of helping to pass legislation that paved the way for Rockford’s first black judges.

The creation of sub districts in the 17th Judicial Circuit Court opened doors for circuit judges Patrick Yarbrough and Gwyn Gulley.

“I was tired of seeing young African-Americans going before the judicial system and never seeing a black face,” Jefferson said.

“We are 15, 20 percent of the population with no African-American representation in the judicial system,” he said. “It didn’t make any sense.”

Jefferson, 72, who is now retired, was born and raised in Waco,…

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