AKRON, Ohio — Growing up, Michael Williams learned d a lot from his mother and father.

What You Need To Know

  • Judge James R. Williams was a civil rights activist and served as a judge for many years

  • His son now continues his legacy as a father, politician and teacher

  • Annalisa Williams happens to be his daughter-in-law and continues his work on the bench 

His father, retired Judge James R. Williams made quite the mark on Northeast Ohio and the country.

“He was a man of great integrity and humility,” said Williams' daughter-in-law, Judge Annalisa Williams.

Michael Williams now teaches American Government at the University of Akron.

His family is full of care, empathy and history.

Michael Williams served as a councilman for years before moving to teach.

Judge Annalisa Williams was elected to the Akron Municipal Court in 2003 and is still serving.

She also has presided over the mental health court and received community and national recognition for her involvement.

Retired Judge James R. Williams was one of the first African Americans to graduate from Akron University's Law School and later served as a judge, civil rights activist, a US attorney and, of course, a father.

The foundation of this family is and has always been their commitment to each other and the community.

“What can I do to be able to help someone else do well and become successful," said Judge Annalisa Williams. "So that's how I define success.”

For Michael Williams, he said having a mother and father who made history is one thing, but the greatest thing they did for him was teaching him how to be a good person.

“My father gave my sister and me a voice,” said Michael Williams. “We were taught to respect people.”

The family continues the work of Judge James R. Williams and knows his mark will last forever.

“I know his legacy will live on for generations to come,” said Judge Annalisa Williams.