MEMPHIS, Tenn. — All February long, ABC24 is Celebrating Memphis and Black History Month.
From 2000 to 2004, Judge J.C. McLin served as a Shelby County criminal court judge. In 2004, McLin was appointed to the Court of Criminal Appeals, as the second African American to ever sit on that bench.
Honorable, fair, and kind — that's how Mollie McLin remembers her late husband. It wasn't exactly love at first sight when the two first met, but in time, love grew and so did their commitment to his dream. The two were married for 42 years.
"I was 17, and he was 19 when we first met," said Mollie McLin. "He went to law school after we were married and after we had our first child, and so I was with him throughout his journey. We took that journey together.”
After passing the bar on his first try, a young J.C. McLin was determined to make a difference in law and in life.
“He treated people with dignity and respect," said Mollie McLin. “He had his own second chance program. He would have inspirational speakers there to encourage them to know that, yes, you have a past, but you also have a future."
J.C. McLin continued his passion until the very end. McLin died in 2011, after battling pancreatic cancer.
“It was a very challenging time,” his wife recalls. “He had a couple of illnesses, and I was always right there by his side, his caretaker.”
Years later, Mollie McLin and their children are carrying on his legacy.
“We have three children,” she said. “And of course, they wanted to be lawyers. The third one, she is a lawyer. She followed in his footsteps. Even went to the same college he did.”
Above all, they're striving to be kind, just like their father.
"I'm proud of him. I'm proud of his children,” said McLin. “He was an awesome man."
You can read more about J.C. McLin here.