John Morton-Finney

Child of slaves, Active lawyer until age 104…

In a 1994 interview with the Indianapolis Star, Morton-Finney noted,

“I never stop studying. There’s always lots to learn. When you stop learning, that’s about the end of you.”

He earned the first of his law degrees in 1935 from Lincoln College, earned 11 bachelor’s degrees, including in French, history and mathematics. He taught and practiced law – in an era in history that held limited opportunities for a man of color.

He received a law degree from Indiana University in 1944 and he was one of, if not America’s oldest, practicing lawyers when he retired at the age of 106.

At the age of 75, Morton-Finney earned a degree at Butler University. Somewhere along the way he learned six languages.

In 1990, he was honored at the White House by President George H.W. Bush who said,

“he has lived the life of the mind—better and longer than anyone else” … “America’s most seasoned scholar.”

John Morton-Finney was buried with full military honors at Crown Hill Cemetery.

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