Virginia Changemakers
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Angela Edwards Roberts (1953 - )





Judge and Youth Advocate


Angela Edwards Roberts grew up in Caroline County, where her parents taught her the importance of living up to her potential. She studied political science at Virginia Tech, earning a degree with honors in only three years. In 1980, she graduated from Emory University with a juris doctor degree and joined a private legal practice in Atlanta. After returning to Virginia, she became the first African-American woman to be an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Richmond and a staff attorney for the Virginia State Bar.

On February 22, 1990, the General Assembly elected Roberts a judge of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in Richmond, making her the first African-American woman elected a judge in Virginia. She helped implement reforms to streamline court administration and improve case scheduling. Roberts worked with the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative to reduce the reliance on detention for juveniles awaiting trial, which led to the adoption of cost-effective and successful practices in the city and around the state. In 2000, Roberts established an annual Adoption Day ceremony to celebrate the final adoption of children in Richmond’s foster care system. She served two terms as the chief judge of the court before retiring in 2016, and she continues to sit as a substitute judge.

Roberts has served on numerous state boards and commissions and has received many honors for her work on and off the bench. The YWCA named her one of its Outstanding Women in Law of Central Virginia in 2005, and the Old Dominion Bar Association honored her with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

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Image Courtesy of Angela E. Roberts.