The youngest of five children born to the Reverend Archibald J. Carey, a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and his wife, Elizabeth H. Carey, Carey Jr., was a native of Chicago, Illinois where he attended Wendell Phillips High School. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree from Lewis Institute (now Illinois Institute of Technology) in 1928, as well as a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Northwestern University in 1932, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1935.
He was pastor of Woodlawn AME Church in Chicago from 1930-1949 before moving to Quinn Chapel AME Church, Chicago’s second oldest Protestant church, where he served until 1967. Carey also served as Republican alderman of Chicago’s 3rd Ward (1947-1955) and an alternate member of the United States delegation to the Eighth General Assembly of the United Nations in 1953.
In 1966, Carey was elected as a circuit judge in Cook County, Illinois, a position he held at the time of his death in April 1981.
In 1952, Carey was one of the speakers at the Republican National Convention which met in Chicago. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington may have been influenced by Carey’s address, which concluded: “… from every mountain side, let freedom ring. Not only from the Green mountains and the White mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire; not only from the Catskills of New York; but from the Ozarks in Arkansas, from the Stone Mountain in Georgia, from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia–let it ring not only for the minorities in the United States; but for … the disinherited of all the earth…–may the Republican Party, under God, from every mountainside, LET FREEDOM RING!”