Brooklyn Daily Eagle: Brooklyn’s First Black Administrative Judge, dies at 94

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By: Rob Abruzzese

December 26th - Judge William C. Thompson, a decorated World War II veteran, one-time state senator and Brooklyn’s first black administrative judge, has died at 94. His death was first reported on Monday. 

Judge Thompson, a Harlem native who, at the time of his death, had lived on Putnam Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant since 1939, was in the legendary “Buffalo Soldiers” Army division during World War II and received a Purple Heart for his service.

He spoke frequently about how drastically Brooklyn — and especially his neighborhood — changed during the war, and how that change helped drive him into politics.

In 1965, Thompson was elected to the New York state Senate, where he represented Brooklyn. He held that seat until he was elected to the City Council in 1969, where he served until he was elected to the Supreme Court in 1974. Later that year, he was appointed as an associate Justice of the Appellate Term, 2nd and 11th Districts. While serving in the Appellate Division, he married the late Judge Sybil Hart Kooper, and the two became the first-ever couple to serve together as appellate judges.

Thompson, known by friends and associates as “Willy,” went on to become the Assistant Administrative Judge in charge of the Supreme Court for Brooklyn and Staten Island in 1978, and two years later he was assigned by Gov. Hugh Carey as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department.

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