My Life on the Courts

Henry H. Kennedy Jr.

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After attending Princeton and Harvard Law School, Henry Kennedy Jr. was appointed a United States magistrate when he was just twenty-eight. As the youngest federal judicial officer ever appointed, Kennedy handled many contentious proceedings for which he was ill prepared—all while enduring a short yet failed marriage. But it was not until he was preparing to lead a discussion at a judges’ prayer breakfast that Kennedy ultimately plunged into the darkness of depression. In a fascinating retelling of his life story, Kennedy chronicles his experiences as an African American federal judge who successfully confronted the debilitating symptoms of clinical depression while presiding over consequential cases and issues of our time. While traveling back into his past and revealing his family’s battles with racism and segregation, Kennedy leads others down an inspirational path that proves that positive change is not achieved in one day, but instead throughout a lifetime. Blessed with the guidance and example of his parents and supported by an unlikely cadre of friends, Judge Kennedy is living proof that there is hope for those suffering from depression that they too can overcome their challenges and reclaim their lives, just as he did. My Life on the Courts is the candid memoir of an African American federal judge that chronicles his journey through the courts and out of the depths of depression.

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