When demobilized in 1919, Francis Dent moved to Detroit and enrolled in the Detroit Law School. In 1923 he graduated, was admitted to the bar, and started practicing law.
In the 1920s, the American Bar Association, the Michigan Bar Association, and the Detroit Bar Association were all effectively segregated. African-Americans were unable to use the resources that these organizations provided. Francis Dent is credited with being one of the founders of the Wolverine Bar Association, formed in Detroit in 1925, around the time that the National Bar Association was created in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Wolverine Bar Association was devoted to the legal rights of the African-American community, advising and campaigning for candidates perceived as fair to the community, and promoting candidates to the bench who were regarded as impartial. The association was never explicitly limited to African Americans; Judge Ira Jayne was a prominent early exception.
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