Cheri Beasley started serving on the North Carolina Supreme Court in 2012. Now, seven years later, she's set to become the first African American woman Chief Justice of North Carolina's highest court. Governor Roy Copper made the historic announcement on Tuesday.
"It is not lost on me -- this historic fact -- especially since this is Black History Month," ABC 11 reports Beasley saying. "I know that the work we do is hugely important, but the other thing I think about are the little girls along the way, who ought to have a sense of promise and hope for their futures, and so I hope that in some way my service inspires young people especially, but really I hope it is a show of symbolism for where we are in North Carolina."
After graduating from Rutgers University and earning a J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law, Beasley went on to be appointed to the state bench in 1999. Prior to serving as an Associate Judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, she served as a District Court Judge.
"In 1999, Henry Frye became the state's first African American Chief Justice," Congressman G.K. Butterfield said. "It is fitting that 20 years later, as we celebrate Black History Month, Justice Beasley will shatter another glass ceiling -- becoming the first African American woman chief justice in North Carolina's history."
Beasley, whose appointment will last through the end of 2020, added: "This is certainly not the North Carolina of 200 years ago, and so I'm excited about the fact that North Carolina has moved forward."
Update: Beasley was officially sworn in as the first African American woman Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court on Thursday, March 7.