March is the anniversary month for the famous protest along Alabama's Edmund Pettus Bridge led by Martin Luther King Jr. in his mission to achieve fair voting rights. Fifty years later, the fight for equality for African-Americans is not over.
Our own Bill Sheppard and Betsy White are featured in an article written by The Florida Times Union about the state's prohibition against same-sex marriage. The weddings of thousands of gay and lesbian couples throughout Florida since January 6th were made possible in part because of the groundbreaking lawsuit brought by Sheppard and White.
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida was established in 1962. During its existence, numerous important civil rights and constitutional cases have been litigated in its courtrooms. Bill Sheppard and Betsy White have been fortunate to be in the forefront of much of this litigation. They recount their experiences in two articles recently published in The Florida Historical Quarterly,Vol. 92 (Fall 2013).
Although the days of the Civil Rights Movement seem like a distant memory to some, discrimination is still a rampant issue in today's society. Discrimination laws prohibit discrimination on the grounds of:
In celebration of Black History Month, The Jacksonville Bar Association lunch meeting Tuesday featured a viewing of the documentary "Conversations on Catfish, Courtrooms, and Change: The Life and Times of Henry Lee Adams, Jr." The film detailed the creation of what is believed to be the first integrated law firm in Florida - Sheppard, Fletcher, Hand & Adams. It has been entered in the Amelia Island Film Festival Thursday-Sunday. Pictured from left, William Sheppard, Jack Hand, Senior U.S. District Judge Henry Lee Adams, Lyman Fletcher and Circuit Judge Hugh Carithers, who was a partner in the firm. Adams was the first African-American judge in the Fourth Circuit, the first African-American U.S. District judge in the Middle District of Florida, appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, and the first African-American Senior U.S. District judge in the state.