News From The Law School
New interactive display remembers struggle for equality
The Legacy of Virgil D. Hawkins: The Struggle for Equality at the University of Florida, an innovative multi-media exhibit in
the lobby of the Lawton Chiles Legal Information Center, was unveiled
Sept. 2 at a reception during UF’s Black Alumni weekend.
Speakers included UF Law Dean Robert Jerry; chief judge of the Northern
District of Florida Stephan P. Mickle, the first African-American to earn
an undergraduate degree from UF (BA 65, M.Ed 66, JD 70); and W. George Allen (JD 62), the first African-American to graduate from UF Law.
A broader grand opening of the exhibit is tentatively scheduled Feb. 9
to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebration of Allen’s graduation from UF Law.
In 1958, after nine years of battle in the Florida and United States
Supreme courts, Virgil D. Hawkins withdrew his application to the University of Florida College of Law in exchange for UF desegregating all of its graduate and professional schools. In 1989, Gov. Bob Martinez signed a bill into law naming UF Law’s civil clinics as the Virgil Darnell Hawkins Civil Legal Clinics. And in 2001, Hawkins was awarded UF’s first posthumous honorary degree in its 150-year history.
The exhibit showcases a physical timeline, an accompanying virtual timeline in a touch-screen display, and a panel explaining the integration
of education in America in the context of UF Law. A companion website
is at www.law.ufl.edu/history/hawkins_exhibit.shtml.
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