Photo via: ABC 11
Before they all became a judge, Shamieka Rhinehart, Camille Banks-Prince, Keisha Wright-Hill and Teresa Raquel Robinson-Freeman were all aspiring attorneys at North Carolina Central University School of Law (NCCU).
Their friendship started after orientation in August of 1998. ABC 11 reported: "The friends bonded in Mclean Hall over good food. The judges said they cooked full meals, mostly in the microwave back then, and they watched marathons of the hit show 'The Golden Girls.'"
When Wright-Hill lost her father during their first year, it was Rhinehart, Banks-Prince, and Robinson-Freeman who encouraged her to come back to school and finish. Wright-Hill said, "Because of them I'm here today, not just as an attorney, but as a judge."
Wright-Hill has gone on to see just how much representation matters in the courtroom for young kids who look like her. "He peeked his head in and said, she is Black," Wright-Hill said as she recalled a child entering her courtroom for the first time. "He was surprised because he'd never seen a Black judge."
While a seat on the bench was never part of their initial plan, three out of four of the women (who call themselves the Golden Girls) have since stepped into elected positions. We shared a photo of them in 2017 when Rhinehart became a new judge on the bench.
All four of them credit NCCU for changing their lives for the better.
"The power of HBCU's and making sure individuals that look like us have a seat at the table for education," Rhinehart said. "Think about how awesome this is."
And it brought together a friendship that has lasted for 20 years and counting.