HARTFORD -- Boce W. Barlow Jr., who became Connecticut's first black judge in 1957 and its first black state senator nine years later, died Monday in Maryland. He was 89.
Mr. Barlow was never interested in being known as the one who broke down the barriers. ''I don't say I'm the first black to serve as a judge. I'm a judge, and they can look at me and tell I'm black," Mr. Barlow said in 1986.
He was a man who ''believed that you should be paying your civic rent," said his daughter, Cathy Barlow. ''That for the luxury of being here, you should be contributing, and you should be doing for others, not just for yourself."
Born in Americus, Ga., in 1915, Mr. Barlow soon moved with his family to Hartford, where he graduated from Hartford Public High School in 1933. He went on to graduate cum laude in 1939 from Howard University, where he was senior class president.
Mr. Barlow served in a segregated unit in the Army from 1943 to 1946 in the southeast Pacific. He went to Harvard Law School, where he graduated in 1949.
He became Connecticut's first black judge in 1957 at the age of 42. He was the first black elected to the state Senate in 1966, and two years later was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Paul Lewis joined Mr. Barlow in a law practice in 1967.
Mr. Barlow retired from his practice in 1981 after a surgical error left him partially paralyzed. The city of Hartford named a street, Boce Barlow Way, for him in the North End.
His daughter said he stayed active in politics during his retirement, sharing his knowledge with younger politicians.