7 Reasons Marilyn Mosby Is Our New Favorite Head Black Woman in Charge

by Evan Seymour

Marilyn Mosby is at the center of the national spotlight. The 35-year-old state’s attorney for Baltimore City is the youngest chief prosecutor of any major U.S. jurisdiction. She’s only been on the job for four months, and she’s already facing what will most likely be the defining moment of her career.

On Friday, May 1st, Mosby announced in a press conference that her office has issued arrest warrants for the six officers involved in the arrest and detainment of Freddie Gray. (All six of the officers have since posted bail and have been released.) The officers each face an array charges including second-degree murder, manslaughter, and false imprisonment.

Mosby is the first African American prosecutor in recent history to head up such a high profile, racially charged investigation into police misconduct.

Here are seven things to know about Marilyn Mosby:

1. Mosby grew up in inner city Boston and helped desegregate the city’s schools when she was just six years old. As a young child, Mosby was accepted into a Massachusetts school desegregation program, and she subsequently participated in a study of the civil rights movement. While campaigning for state’s attorney, Mosby said, “After having that experience, I knew I wanted to be an attorney.”

2. The murder of her 17-year-old cousin inspired Mosby to become a prosecutor. In 1994, Mosby’s teenage cousin was mistaken for a drug dealer and killed by another 17-year-old outside of her Boston home. Mosby has cited this as a defining experience in her understanding of the criminal justice system – and the role of the citizenry in that system.

3. Mosby has a legal background in both the public and private sectors. After graduating from law school at Boston College, Mosby worked as assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore. In this position, she focused on prosecuting general trial felonies. Eventually, she left the state’s attorney’s office to work as field counsel at Liberty Mutual Insurance.

4. Mosby comes from a law enforcement family. Her mother, father, grandfather, and four of her uncles are all career police officers. Her grandfather was a founding member of the first African-American police organization in Massachusetts.

5. She is the first person in her family to graduate from college. As an undergraduate, Mosby attended the historically black Tuskegee University where she studied political science. She received her law degree from Boston College.

6. Her husband, Nick Mosby, is a Baltimore city councilmember who represents West Baltimore. The pair met as undergraduates at Tuskegee. They’ve been married since 2004 and have two children together. City Councilmember Mosby has been vocal about his support of Freddie Gray’s family, a fact that critics may try to use against his wife.

7. When Mosby was sworn in as chief prosecutor back in January, she brought up the lack of trust between the community and police. “Our time to repair that trust, to come together collectively to start to break down the barriers to progress is now,” she told attendees of the ceremony.

Repairing trust is only part of what is needed to break down the barriers to which Mosby referred. In the case of Freddie Gray, trust has already been violated and another life lost. What is needed now is justice, and Mosby’s decision to prosecute the six officers involved in Freddie Gray’s arrest is definitely a step in the right direction.

“I heard your call for ‘no justice, no peace,’” Mosby told community members Friday.

Though only time will tell the final outcome of the case against the officers, it is comforting to know that a strong, black woman of conscience is heading up the process of holding Freddie Gray’s murderers accountable. On a personal level, Marilyn Mosby understands that black lives matter.

May justice prevail for Freddie Gray and his family.

Photo: Alex Brandon / Corbis

Evan Seymour is a Southern California-based freelance journalist whose daytime job is in entertainment news. She is also a professional daydreamer.

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