Born in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Cassandra Maxwell was one of six children raised to continue the successful grocery store owned by her family. Maxwell pursued higher education, graduating from Howard University’s School of Law. She returned to her birthplace of South Carolina, passing the South Carolina bar exam, becoming the first African-American woman admitted to the SC Bar in 1940.
After ten years of teaching at South Carolina State University’s Law School, Maxwell moved with her husband to Atlanta and began her own practice. Active in the NAACP, she assisted Thurgood Marshall on cases which ultimately overturned the legality of segregated public facilities in the South. Later, Maxwell and her husband moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she joined the Pennsylvania Bar and began yet another practice.
Her advocacy for social causes continued through her unwavering service with prominent organizations such as the Fair Housing and Jobs for Youth, the Children’s United Fund, League of Women Voters, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Urban League, and the Communities Advisory Board of Housing and Urban Development. Also she served as a Philadelphia Fellowship Commissioner, Women’s Division.
Active in the Republican Party, Cassandra was appointed by President Nixon as a member of the Interim Board of Directors of the Student Loan Marketing Association. She also won the nomination in the Republican primary as a candidate for a judgeship in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Although her bid for the seat was unsuccessful, she garnered support that crossed racial and party lines. Cassandra Maxwell died in Philadelphia in 1974.