Judge Wright, a Norfolk native, is the daughter of Dr. Lillian P. Wright and the late Dr. William “Bill” Wright. After graduating from Lake Taylor High School, where she was the first African American cheer leader and ran track, Wilhelminia graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, from Yale College. Her Juris Doctorate was earned at Harvard Law School. While in law school, she was the Executive Director of the Harvard Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review.
Wilhelminia M. Wright began her exemplary career as a law clerk for Judge Damon Keith and working at the law firm of Hogan and Harston, LLP in Washington, D C. As an attorney for the firm, she represented school districts across the nation with the primary purpose of enhancing academic success for public school students. This enthusiasm for equality in public school education probably was a result of her mother, Lillian, being such a staunch advocate of public school education when “MIMI” and brother Billy were in school.
After her work in Washington, D C, Wilhelminia moved to Minnesota and joined the U S Attorney’s Office. Because of the diligent work done, Wright became a trial Judge in Ramsey County and was appointed, by Governor Jesse Ventura, to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. This young woman won the Department of Justice Special Achievement Award and the United States Department of Justice Director’s Award for Public Service.
She praised those pioneers who helped forge the way for her – including civil rights activist Josie Johnson, and Alan Page the first African American to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court. In a press release from the Governor’s office, Judge Wright states that “I am honored to serve the people of Minnesota ... It is my good fortune to devote my life’s work to preserving and to promoting the values of freedom and equal justice – values that I believe in so deeply.”
Judge Wihelminia Wright, in addition to the two awards mentioned, has received numerous honors, written over 700 legal opinions and still finds time to be active in civic and community affairs.
Norfolk native, Judge Wilhelminia W. Wright lives in St. Paul with her daughter Kathryn and husband Daniel.