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1901-1905 William Little Frierson


WL Frierson 1905-1907(Lived September 3, 1868 – May 25, 1953)

Born in Shelbyville, Tennessee, William Little Frierson moved to Chattanooga in 1890 to establish a law practice.  Frierson first practiced law under Judge Lewis Shepherd. 
 
Elected mayor in 1905, Frierson led the city through two turbulent years.  Mayor Frierson served at a time that the city experienced great racial divides.  The culminating event was the hanging of a black man from the Walnut Street Bridge and an increase in the establishment of Jim Crow laws.  His former legal mentor Judge Shepherd oversaw the legal case following the hanging.

Following his term as mayor, Frierson served two terms as city attorney. He was later appointed special justice to the Supreme Court of Tennessee.  In 1917, Frierson became assistant attorney general of the United States and served in the position for three years.  President Woodrow Wilson appointed Frierson Solicitor General of the United States on May 29, 1920, a position he held until July 1921.

Upon retirement from his national position, Frierson returned to Chattanooga and practiced law for many more years.

Photo by Phillip Stevens and Matt Lea