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Judge Theodore McMillian dies


St. Louis, MO – Long-time judge Theodore McMillian died yesterday at the age of 86.

He'd been on the Eighth U-S Circuit Court of Appeals for years, becoming the bench's first black judge when he was appointed.

He graduated first in his class at Saint Louis University Law School in 1949, but no firm would hire him. So, he opened his own practice and worked as a janitor at night to pay bills.

McMillian died from complications from a kidney dialysis treatment. He had the treatments done at his office so he could still work.

McMillian, the great-grandson of a slave also was Missouri's first black state prosecutor and the first black on the state bench, the Missouri Court of Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals.

He once allowed himself to be put in jail so he could know the experience of incarceration.

Governor Matt Blunt on Thuesday ordered flags at state buildings flown at half-staff to honor Judge McMillian. Funeral arrangements are pending.