Melissa A. Long’s story is one of perseverance. Earlier this year, the Antonin Scalia Law School graduate was sworn in as the first Black justice on the Rhode Island Supreme Court, a career pinnacle that reflects at least a generation’s worth of tenacity.
“I like to say that my story is really a story of the American dream,” says Long, JD ’95, who was also part of another historical moment when her appointment shifted women into the majority on the state’s high court.
This very American story began with Long’s parents. Her father, who is Black, grew up in Blackstone, Virginia, which she says was “a segregated town with segregated schools.” Her mother, who was white, grew up as the youngest of nine children in a poor family in Pennsylvania.