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Judge Sara Harper honored

Judge Sara Harper honored
Outhwaite Community Center
February 29, 2016

The Committee on Arrangements; Ohio Republican Party, Republican Party of Cuyahoga County, Sara J. Harper Leadership Institute, I Group, The Committee of 40, Lauren A. Gore, esq., WEA, Inc., LA Gore & Principals and the Inner City Republican Movement hosted a Community Black History Celebration honoring the Life & Achievement of Judge Sara J. Harper

Judge Sara Haper honor event


The Honorable Sara J. Harper is truly an American original.

Judge Sara Harper

Judge Sara Harper


Her illustrious career spans the decades, as one who has toppled barriers, and made history. Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1926, Judge Harper was the first African-American woman to graduate from Case Western Reserve University Law School. She also was the first woman to serve on the judiciary of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. After retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel, she won a seat on the Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals, becoming one of the first of two African-American women elected to the court in 1990.

Judge Harper twice was a candidate for the Ohio Supreme Court -- for chief justice in 1980 and for justice in 1994. And she was the first African-American woman appointed to sit on the state's high court in 1992.

Judge Sara Harper with some family members

Judge Sara Harper with some family members


Judge Harper has always been a champion for civil rights. She co-founded the nation’s first victims’ rights program and served as president of the Cleveland Branch of the NAACP. She has been the recipient of many accolades, including induction into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame in 2013, and most recently, the 2014 RNC Trailblazer Award, which recognizes and honors the contributions of black Republicans.

When Judge Harper received her RNC Trailblazer Award, RNC Chairman Reince Preibus opined, ”it’s important that we honor the contributions of our trailblazers as we look toward building the future with a new generation of black Republicans.”

Judge Harper’s commitment to community has never waived, and is evident with the establishment of the Sara J. Harper Leadership Institute, which aims to provide training for our community’s future leaders and the Sara J. Harper Children’s Library, whose mission is to provide a safe environment that encourages and promotes reading, learning, and positive avenues for self-realization. Judge Harper, has made it her life’s work to gives back, and to leave a legacy of teaching, learning, empowerment, community service, activism, and true American patriotism.

Judge Harper was raised in the public housing at Outhwaite where the ceremony was held and where the Sara J. Harper Children's Library is housed. (Note: Former Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes and his brother Congressman Louis Stokes were also raised at Outhwaite.)

The event included a tour of the Library, food, camaraderie and more.

Singing the National Anthem

Singing the National Anthem


Numerous people wanted to speak and honor the judge for her pioneering inspiration over the years. Here are a few of them.

In this video clip, Laverne Jones-Gore told how Judge Harper was her hero and inspiration.

Laverne Jones-Gore

Laverne Jones-Gore



During the ceremony, Convention CEO Jeff Larson presented Harper with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her tireless commitment to children in the Cleveland community, lifetime of public service, and 50 years of service to the Republican Party.

Judge Sara Haper and Jeff Larson

Judge Sara Harper and Jeff Larson


He praised Judge Harper as a dedicated public servant, champion for civil rights, and community advocate who has toppled barriers and made history.

Jeff Larson

Jeff Larson



Cuyahoga County Republican Party Chairman Rob Frost reminded the crowd that it as a Republican President, Gerald Ford, who turned Black History Week into Black History Month.

Rob Frost

Rob Frost



Brian Barnes, co-director of African American Initiatives for the Ohio Republican Party, spoke about the problems in the community and how Judge Harper worked to solve them.

Brian Barnes

Brian Barnes



Cuyahoga County Republican Party Chairman Rob Frost told of some of her accomplishments and those of her late husband longtime Cleveland Municipal Court Judge George Trumbo.



Judge Harper spoke of her pioneering accomplishments and those of her late husband George Trumbo.

Judge Sara Harper

Judge Sara Harper



Rob Frost, Brian Barnes, Judge Sara Harper and Jeff Larson

Rob Frost, Brian Barnes, Judge Sara Harper and Jeff Larson

Reverend Jeff Jamison closed the program with his tribute and a prayer.

Reverend Jeff Jamison

Reverend Jeff Jamison




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Zeta Amicae sisters

Zeta Amicae sisters

Cake honoring Judge Sara Harper

Governor Kasich proclamation for Judge Sara Harper

Governor Kasich proclamation for Judge Sara Harper

Attorney General Mike Dewine proclamation for Judge Sara Harper

Attorney General Mike Dewine proclamation for Judge Sara Harper


Congratulations on this well-deserved honor Judge Harper.

Judge Sara Harper

Judge Sara Harper








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