She was a pioneer in the field of law — in 1988, she became the first African American woman to serve on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. But Juanita Kidd Stout had been quietly crashing through barriers for years. Three decades earlier, she had been the first African American woman elected to a court of record in the United States.
On Thursday, Philadelphia City Council paid tribute to the jurist, who died in 1998 at age 79, by renaming the Criminal Justice Center in her honor. The 16-0 vote (one member was absent) ended years of wrangling over who should get the honor. From now on, the courthouse at 13th and Filbert Streets will be known as the Justice Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice.