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Historical Biography

Attorney General: Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Holder, Eric H. Jr.
82nd Attorney General, -
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Eric H. Holder, Jr., was born on January 21, 1951, in the Bronx, New York. He attended public schools, graduating from Stuyvesant High School, where he earned a Regents Scholarship. He attended Columbia College as an American History major, graduating in 1973.

He then went on to attend Columbia Law School, where he clerked at the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund and the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. Upon graduating in 1976, he moved to Washington and joined the Department of Justice as part of the Attorney General's Honors Program. He was assigned to the newly formed Public Integrity Section and was tasked with investigating and prosecuting official corruption at the local, state and federal levels.

In 1988, Mr. Holder was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to become an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He sat on the bench until 1993, when President Bill Clinton appointed him U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. In 1997, President Clinton named Mr. Holder as Deputy Attorney General, making him the first African American to hold that post.

Prior to becoming Attorney General, Mr. Holder was a litigation partner at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington.

President Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate Mr. Holder on December 1, 2008, and he was sworn in as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States on February 3, 2009 by Vice-President Joe Biden. He resigned after serving more than six years as attorney general.

About the Artist: Simmie Knox

Simmie Knox was born in 1935 in Aliceville, Alabama. After grad school, he exhibited abstract works and taught at various universities and public schools. Since 1981, he has specialized in oil portraiture, and has been commissioned by everyone from U.S. Supreme Court Justices to celebrities. In 2004, Knox unveiled official portraits of President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton at the White House—becoming the first black artist to paint an official presidential portrait.

Updated November 24, 2022