This article was re-published with permission from Davidson Local: free, hyperlocal daily news for Davidson County, North Carolina.
Last week, Governor Roy Cooper made a historic appointment by naming Lexington based attorney Rosalind Baker to serve as District Court Judge in Judicial District 22B. She will fill the seat vacated by the Hon. April Wood. The selection makes Baker the first African American female to hold the seat.
Baker is the daughter of the late Willie Baker and Jessie Bush Baker. She and four brothers were raised by a single mother, who was widowed early in her marriage. Rosalind credits her mother for nurturing her interest in law. “I knew since about the fifth or the sixth grade that I wanted be in law. I found it interesting. It affects our lives every day,” Baker recalled. “She [Jessie] was my best friend and biggest cheerleader and mentor, my mom, and that’s a fact. She always told me I could do anything I want.” Jessie passed in 2004.
Since 1984, Baker has worked as a solo practitioner at the Law Offices of Rosalind Baker. Baker earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at North Carolina A&T State University majoring in Political Science with a minor in English. She took off a year between undergrad and law school and worked at Livingstone College in Public Relations, later earning her Juris Doctor from North Carolina Central University School of Law.
Baker entertained other offers upon being admitted to the North Carolina State Bar but returned home to start a private practice in the area of Civil Litigation, Domestic Relations, Adoptions, Real Estate, Wills/Estates, Traffic and Criminal and Personal Injury.
During that time, Baker devoted herself to public service by serving on a host of board committees and commissions. Prior board affiliations include: Chairperson, Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board; Chairperson, Salvation Army Hospice of Davidson County Life Center of Davidson County; Lexington Housing Community Development Corporation; Pastor’s Pantry of Davidson County; Cancer Services; Family Services of Davidson County Davidson; Davidson County Community Action; and Habitat for Humanity. Her role for several nonprofits included drafting local by-laws. Baker served on the board of the Lovell House, currently known as Path of Hope, a local substance abuse treatment facility.
She currently serves on the board of Wake Forest Baptist Health-Lexington Medical Center.
Baker’s professional associations include: the North Carolina State Bar Davidson County Bar Association, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., NAACP – Political Action Committee, Lexington Rotary Club (Prior) Political Affiliations include the Democratic Women of Davidson County.
Baker and her husband, Fernando, are longtime members of St. Stephen United Methodist Church. They have two adult children.
The notoriously private Baker admitted she was adjusting to the flood of congratulations that followed, including notes, tearful phone calls and flowers. “I understand the weight of this appointment. There has been an overwhelming amount of community support coming in from everywhere.”
Baker said she was winding down her private practice when the opportunity came along. She said diversity was one of the major reasons she decided to apply. “I thought the bench needed more diversity. This is a step forward for the community.”
Baker will be sworn in on Wednesday, June 2nd at the Davidson County Courthouse in Lexington, North Carolina at 3pm.