James Slater Gibson: A Toledo First


James Slater Gibson, Tuskegee about 1918

Historical documentation about the City of Toledo's first African American lawyer came to the Toledo Lucas County Public Library thanks to the efforts of Northwest Ohio native, Kip Leahy. As Kip was researching his own father, Paul Leahy, a prominent Toledo trial lawyer, Kip became aware of another Toledo lawyer and contemporary of his father’s, James Slater Gibson (1901-1991). 

Kip's interest in James Slater and the Gibson family led him on a search that ultimately took him to California, where the widow of James Slater Gibson’s grandson was living. From her, Kip collected the story of the Gibson family, starting with that of Charles Hansford Gibson Sr. (1868-1954), James Slater's father, who spent thirty-seven years working at Alabama's Tuskeegee Institute in the Jim Crow South.