Saul Green photo
On May 6, 1994, Saul Green was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as U.S. attorney for Michigan’s Eastern District. The Detroit native became the first African American to hold the post.
Green, who was nominated by Democratic President Bill Clinton, graduated in 1965 from Mackenzie High School and in 1969 from the University of Michigan. He earned a degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1972. He had been serving as Wayne County corporation counsel at the time of nomination.
Green told the Advance on Wednesday that he is proud to have been able to increase the number of African American attorneys in the office during his 1994 to 2001 tenure and improve relationships between his team and local law enforcement agencies.
“Being the first African American in history to be appointed to the position is noteworthy but when I sought that position I made it very clear that my perspective on accomplishing public safety was not going to be typical,” said Green, who had served in the office as a young lawyer in 1973 and is a former president of the Wolverine Bar Association, a professional organization made up of Black attorneys.
Green told the Advance earlier this year that he was encouraged to apply for the University of Michigan by Willis Ward, a 1930s legendary scholar-athlete from Detroit, who later became a Wayne County Probate Court judge.
Green also owns the Michigan Barber School on Detroit’s west side. The institution was founded by his father, Forrest Green, in 1947 on Hastings Street in the city’s legendary Black Bottom community. Forrest Green later was appointed by Gov. John Swainson, a Democrat, to Michigan’s Civil Service Commission in 1961 and later served as chair. He also was appointed to the Detroit Park and Recreation Commission and served as chair during Detroit Mayor Jerry Cavanagh’s tenure in the 1960s. The Detroit City Council appointed him as Detroit ombudsman in 1974.
After his U.S. attorney tenure ended in 2001, Saul Green served as city of Detroit deputy mayor between 2008 and 2011 during the Ken Cockrel Jr. and Dave Bing administrations. He is currently senior counsel for Miller Canfield law firm.
Green’s private sector lawyer has involved monitoring the reform of law enforcement agencies, including the Cincinnati Police Department for six years and later Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, following Department of Justice investigations of allegations of police misconduct.
Two African Americans have served as U.S. attorney for Michigan’s Eastern District after Green’s service. Jeffrey Collins, a President George W. Bush appointee, served in the position. Currently, Dawn Ison, a President Joe Biden appointee, holds the position.
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