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Bar Group Apologizes for Past Racism

During a ceremony in a Miami courthouse yesterday, lawyers formally apologized for their forbears' racism. At the Dade County Courthouse, the Dade County Bar Association hung a commemorative plaque over a once-segregated water fountain as its way of acknowledging and apologizing for a past history of racial injustice. "When the Florida Bar was formed in 1950, there were less than 25 black lawyers in the state," the plaque reads. "These lawyers represented their clients in segregated courthouses at a time when justice was neither equal nor fair, and when racial discrimination was not only countenanced by the law -- it was the law."

No one knows today which of the two water fountains on the sixth floor of the courthouse was reserved for whites and which for blacks, according to the Miami Herald. But Judge Scott J. Silverman, who serves as the court's historian, says he is sure they were carefully planned. He once found a partial set of old building plans for the courthouse that clearly showed the separate fountains on multiple floors.

One Southern Florida legal blogger, writing at Justice Building Blog, acknowledges that some may question whether the sins of the fathers should be visited upon their sons. But the anonymous blogger is glad about the plaque for what it says about Americans' willingness to acknowledge their collective mistakes. "While many of us have nothing to apologize for, it is important to remember that our society does," he writes. "And remembering this wrong will hopefully make sure we don't repeat it in the future."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on February 25, 2009 at 11:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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