Akrons first black judge dies

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 7, 2008

Selma native was former Stillman student

Staff report

AKRON, OHIO &8212; Joseph D. Roulhac, the first black judge in this city of more than 217,000 people died Wednesday at the age of 92. He was a native of Selma.

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Roulhac became a municipal judge in 1967. He retired in 1987.

He was born in Selma on Aug. 16, 1916, to the late Rev. Robert and Minerva Roulhac. He lived in Selma until he joined the Army.

After four years of service, he and his wife, the former Frances P. Phoenix, moved to Akron. That was in 1948. They were married for 65 years.

He attended what was then known as Stillman Institute in Tuscaloosa in 1936. The school is now known as Stillman College. Or as one official told the Akron, Ohio Beacon Journal, “It was a high school when blacks could only go to the eighth grade and a hospital when there were no hospitals for blacks.”

That experience at Stillman has carried an association for the Roulhac family for almost 100

years. He was on Stillman’s board of trustees from 1968 to 1986, serving as president of the board from 1974 to 1976.