NORTH CAROLINA – A North Carolina Supreme Court justice has just trail blazed her way into the history books.
Back in January, when WRAL selected the Black History Month honorees, then-Associate Justice Cheri Beasley’s accomplishments were impressive. Days after she learned she would be honored by WRAL News, she received an even bigger surprise.
Earlier this month, Beasley was selected as the first black woman to lead the North Carolina Supreme Court.
“This is a great day and a great time in the state and really in this nation,” she said following the appointment.
Beasley said it’s still sinking in that soon, her portrait will be added to a gallery filled with 200 years’ worth of chief justices who look very different from her.
“It ought to be and is a very different North Carolina. This ought to be and is a very different Supreme Court,” she said.
Beasley’s law career spans 20 years, yet the wife and mother of twin boys still finds time to volunteer and mentor young attorneys who call her an inspiration.
“To be able to look and sit here in our state Supreme Court and see someone who likes like me presiding as chief justice, it just gave me chills again,” Jocelyn Mitnaul Mallet said.
Beasley said Patricia Timmons-Goodson, the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, is the reason she knew she could accomplish anything.
“Often, progress is incremental. It is so encouraging to see that the next generation of leaders are asserting themselves. We’re in good hands,” Timmons-Goodson said.
Beasley said she hopes to use those hands to reshape stereotypes and to encourage girls.
“There are times where people tell you that you can’t do something, but really it has to do with their confinement of their own ability to see it, and it has nothing to do at all with a girl’s potential,” she said.
Beasley will assume her post as chief justice on March 1.