FERRELL, FREDERIC LEONARD (21 May1915-23 Dec. 1992), attorney, pioneered interracial law practice and defended unpopular cases, such as women against abusive husbands and members of the Black Panthers. Born in Danville, VA, to Isaac and Martha Jackson Ferrell, he was raised in BEREA after his father died. Ferrell graduated from Berea High School and Wilberforce University (1939). The armed services would not accept Ferrell despite his ROTC training, citing a full quota of African American officers; however, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. After WORLD WAR II, Ferrell worked at the WARNER AND SWASEY COMPANY while attending the Cleveland Marshall Law School of CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY (graduated 1953). His defiance of lunchroom segregation at the factory led to the demise of such separation there. In his Cleveland LAW practice, Ferrell allowed new graduates of any race to use his office free of charge but held them to standards of excellence.
Ferrell married Mollie Thomas on 8 Jan. 1943; they lived with their 7 children (Emile Betterson, Louise Franklin, Sandra Woodall, Janice Rabb, Linda, Frederic L., Jr., and Charles) first in GLENVILLE, then in EAST CLEVELAND. Ferrell moved back to Berea shortly before his death. He was a member of the MASONS.Last Modified: 10 Jul 1997 05:11:12 PM