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Justice Melody Stewart Makes History


The piano-playing legal wiz from Cleveland is the first African-American justice to be elected to Ohio's Supreme Court.


Melody Stewart was destined to sit on a bench. Early on, it just looked like it would be a piano bench.


“I loved music so much,” says the 56-year-old, who learned to play at age 5 and majored in music at the University of Cincinnati. “I was the only child in my neighborhood with a piano at home.”


On January 31, she placed those piano-playing hands upon the Bible to be sworn in to Ohio’s Supreme Court. Not only did she become the first African-American woman and the first black Democrat elected to the state’s highest court, she also became the first African-American Democrat elected to any statewide office — succeeding where the late Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Nina Turner failed.

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