Severlin B. Singleton is a graduate of Rindge Technical School. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University in 1973 and his Juris Doctorate from Northeastern University School of Law in 1976. Governor Michael Dukakis appointed Severlin to the bench in 1989. He retired as a District Court Judge in 2014.
Before his appointment to the bench, Severlin B. Singleton was Legal Counsel to the City of Cambridge. He also started the first African-American law firm in the city of Cambridge, Singleton, Reeves, Bowzer & Huggins. Prior positions included staff attorney for the Massachusetts Office of Affirmative Action, Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
His passion for equality and fair treatment for all people has made him a purveyor of the rights and entitlements of all men and women. While on the bench, he expressed his concerns to the Middlesex District Attorney regarding racial bias in sentencing and called for a statewide study to address the issue. In March 2002, ABC’s Nightline did a feature story on his position.
Severlin has received many awards, the most notable being the NAACP’s Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Drum Major for Justice Award for his unwavering pursuit for those who have been historically denied it: the voiceless.
Also, while on the bench, he solicited several other judges to publically oppose the implementation of the death penalty because of its inherent racial bias that was being considered by the legislature.
In January, 2002, he filmed, wrote, edited and narrated his story of growing up in Cambridge in the 60’s. The film, titled “Street Corner Symphony” was a tremendous success and was shown at the Belmont Studio Cinema and M.I.T.’s Kresge Auditorium to standing room only crowds.