State’s Attorney Alvarez honors two prominent African Americans during Black History Month celebration


Annual Stradford awards ceremony honors a judge and spirited social activist


Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez honored two prominent African-American legal and civil rights leaders in a recent ceremony in recognition of African-American History Month. 

Alvarez presented the State’s Attorney’s “C.F. Stradford” awards to Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Brown and the Reverend Willie T. Barrow, Chairman Emeritus of the Rainbow-PUSH Coalition. 

The C.F. Stradford Award is named for Cornelius Francis Stradford, a pioneer in the legal community and co-founder of the Cook County Bar Association and the National Bar Association.  

Judge Michael Brown, an Associate Judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County, was appointed to the bench in 1999.  He has served in the Traffic and Juvenile Justice Divisions.  Judge Brown currently presides in the Criminal Division at 26th and California in Chicago and is one of five Supervising Judges at the prominent courthouse.  He is also a member of Trinity United Church of Christ and promotes and sponsors several civic and social activities.

The Reverend Willie T. Barrow, known as the “The Little Warrior” for her tireless work as a social and spiritual activist, has spent her entire life on the front lines of the civil rights struggle.  Rev. Barrow was a field organizer for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during key civil rights marches and demonstrations in the 1950s and 1960s.  She continues to serve the community as a national ambassador for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and is an associate minister of the Vernon Park Church of God.

“The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office is honored to be able to recognize two highly respected and accomplished African-American leaders who have who have achieved so much through hard work and determination,” Alvarez said. “I was honored to present these distinguished awards to these very deserving honorees.”

The awards ceremony was held Tuesday February 28, at the Parkway Ballroom in Chicago.