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Samuel R. Pierce was born September 8, 1922 in Glen Cove, New York, and served in the U.S. Army during and after the Second World War (1943-1946). He obtained his A.B. with honors from Cornell (1947), his law degree in 1949 from the Cornell Law School and earned his LL.M. in taxation (1952) at New York University School of Law. After being admitted to the New York Bar in 1949 he served as assistant district attorney of New York (1949-1953). Pierce was first lieutenant judge advocate general corps, reserve (1950-1952), assistant U.S. attorney, Southern District New York (1953-1955), assistant undersecretary of the Department of Labor during President Eisenhower's first term (1955-1956), and he served as associate counsel of the Council of the Judicial Subcommittee on Anti-Trust for the U.S. Supreme Court (1956). For a brief time, Pierce was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1956-1957). He then earned his J.D. and conducted postgraduate work at Yale Law School from 1957 to 1958. Pierce also served as a judge of the New York Court of General Sessions (1959-1961). He was very active in practicing private law, doing so on and off for well over twenty years (1957-1959, 1961-1970, and 1973-1981), at one time becoming a partner of Battle, Fowler, Pierce and Kheel. He was also on the faculty of New York University from 1958 to 1970. Pierce worked as general counsel and head legal director of the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 1970 to 1973 and served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Reagan Administration from 1981 to 1989. He was the first African American to serve in Ronald Reagan's Cabinet. Pierce died on October 31st, 2000.