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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

PRIDGEON, LOUISE JOHNSON - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

PRIDGEON, LOUISE JOHNSON (27 Jan. 1891-18 July 1932) was the first practicing African American woman lawyer in Cleveland who was also active in welfare work and politics.

Born in Gallipolis, Ohio to Joseph and Mary (Ferguson) Johnson, Louise attended public school in Springfield, graduating from Springfield High School in 1907. Louise came to Cleveland in 1913 and found work as a bookkeeper.

In 1917 Louise took a special course in social science at WESTERN RESERVE UNIV. and also studied at Ohio University and Northwestern University. She worked at the Goodrich Settlement House (see GOODRICH-GANNETT NEIGHBORHOOD CENTER) and the Playhouse Settlement (see KARAMU HOUSE) and later as a volunteer social worker with the WOMEN'S PROTECTIVE ASSN. and as a probation officer at the Central Police Station. During WORLD WAR I she was a field worker in the U.S. Interdepartmental Social Hygiene Board.

Pridgeon graduated from the Cleveland Law School in 1922 and was admitted to the Ohio Bar. As a partner in the firm of Frey & Pridgeon she practiced during the twenties and thirties in courts of the Northern District of Ohio and specialized in Federal Court practice.

Pridgeon was president of the Women's Civic Organization of the East Side, the Harlan Law Club, a member of the Cleveland Federation of Colored Women's Clubs, and a contributor and supporter of the PHILLIS WHEATLEY ASSOCIATION She ran for City Council in the Fourth District in 1931.

Louise married Frank Pridgeon. They had no children. She belonged to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church and is buried in Highland Park Cemetery.

Last Modified: 21 Jul 1997 04:52:40 PM

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