George R. Greene, the first African American elected judge in Wake County, North Carolina, has died at the age of 82. Early in his legal career, Greene represented students from Shaw University and Saint Augustine’s College who were arrested in 1960 for their participation in Raleigh’s lunchcounter sit-ins. The students were protesting racial segregation at the city’s public accommodations.
Greene was a native of Nashville, North Carolina. He graduated from Shaw University and then enrolled in the law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was the only African American in his class at the law school. After serving in the Korean War, he returned to Chapel Hill to complete his law degree. After being admitted to the bar in 1957, he practiced law for 17 years before being elected a judge in 1974. He retired from the bench in 1995.