When Judge Vanessa Gilmore was sworn in, she was the youngest sitting federal judge in the United States.
Judge Gilmore graduated from the University of Houston Law Center in 1981. She then specialized in civil litigation and was later nominated to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton, in 1994.
"It wasn't something that I'd actually seen as my destiny," she says in regards to her nomination. But it was Reverend Bill Lawson who helped her understand how big an opportunity it was for her to serve her community. She also consulted Governor Ann Richards, who she knew well, and "she didn't want me to do it," Judge Gilmore says, "because she wanted me to run on the ticket with her for the Railroad Commission."
But there was one person who held more influence than any other: Her mom. And it was her advice that Judge Gilmore followed: "You got on the fast train, and you thouhgt that you could pull the bell and get off any time that you wanted to. And sometimes you are on the fast train to somebody else's destiny. I think it might be time for you to pull the bell and get off." And so she did.
Watch her interview with Khambrel Marshall for Black History Month.