Between You and Me: Meet the Honorable A. Gail Prudenti and learn...

Between You and Me: Meet the Honorable A. Gail Prudenti and learn about Carter G. Woodson

Hon. A. Gail Prudenti

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief,

Continuing the kickoff for Women’s History Month in March, we have welcomed the Honorable A. Gail Prudenti, formerly the Chief Administrator of the Courts in New York State, to our podcast this week. And we are marking the passing of Black History Month, held annually every February, with a tribute to “the father of Black history,” the late Carter G. Woodson.

Prudenti distinguished herself early by graduating with honors from Marymount College in Tarrytown, then going on to law school at the University of Aberdeen School of Law.

Her career in Suffolk  County began when she clerked for Surrogate Judge Ernest Signorelli, then worked for the Suffolk district attorney for two years. After a ten-year stint in private practice, Prudenti became special counsel for the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, then ran for public office. Elected in 1991 to the New York Supreme Court while still in her 30s, she served there for four years.

Prudenti then became the Suffolk surrogate judge, the first female elected to this position. Concurrently she was acting New York Supreme Court justice. Then, in 1999, she was appointed as the Tenth Judicial District, Suffolk County administrative judge, the first New York surrogate to serve as a district administrative judge.

After serving on the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, she was named presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department, again the first woman in the position. She then became the designate judge on the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, and went on as the Chief Administrator of the Courts. She was in that position for four years.

Even for those of us who aren’t familiar with the various names and levels of the courts in our state, her rise through the system was clearly meteoric. Prudenti then went on to the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra in 2015, where she ultimately served as their 10th dean, and will step down as she joins Nancy Burner, our previous podcast guest, to form the Burner and Prudenti Law Group.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Carter G. Woodson, 1875-1950, American author, historian and journalist, the son of former slaves, was the second Black man to earn a PhD at Harvard University, following W.E.B. Du Bois. He was the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and was one of the first scholars to study the history of the African diaspora. He strove to place people of African descent at the center of American history and the human experience. He noted that African-American contributions “were overlooked, ignored and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them. Race prejudice is merely the logical result of tradition, the inevitable outcome of thorough instruction to the effect that the Negro has never contributed anything to the progress of mankind.”

Also a founder of the “Journal of Negro History,” in February 1926, he launched the celebration of “Negro History Week,” the precursor of Black History Month. His goal was to emphasize the “Negro in History, not the History of the Negro”. Since 1976, every President has designated February as Black History Month. Woodson’s remarkable life is worth knowing.

We hope you will tune in to our podcast this week, starting Friday afternoon, hearing a summary of the week’s news and commentary from Gail Prudenti, by going to our website,, and clicking on the home page button, “Listen Now,” or catching us on Spotify. 

Happy March!

P.S. Bio information above supplied by the internet.