Law Day

FAMU Law Library Commemorates Law Day with 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Moments


 LeRoy Pernel and Linda Barrettel
Caption: College of Law Dean LeRoy Pernell (left) stands with Law Library Interim Director Linda Barrette during the official unveiling of the Sharing the Dream Exhibit held April 30, 2013. The Exhibit opens to the public on Law Day, May 1, 2013, in conjunction with the Law Library's Open House event.

Orlando, Fla. – The Law Library of Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law held an official unveiling of the initial phase of Sharing the Dream: A Photographic History of the Civil Rights Movement in America, before the exhibit opens on Law Day, May 1, 2013. The exhibit of 12 photos all selected from the Library of Congress Prints and Photography Repository will be displayed on the 3rd Floor of the Law Library of the law school, which is located at 201 Beggs Avenue in Orlando.

Recognized by Bar associations and legal service providers nationwide, Law Day 2013, as promoted by the American Bar Association (ABA), will mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

"We are honored to provide this powerful exhibit that reminds our visitors and College of Law community of the integral role the law continues to have in shaping this nation,” said LeRoy Pernell, College of Law Dean.  “While Law Day 2013 at the College of Law reflects on the hopes and dreams of yesterday, we recognize the results of the movement today through opportunities afforded to all, including legal education, that helps us fulfill the mission of our law school."

The Sharing the Dream photos depict key individuals and representative events of the turbulent struggle for Civil Rights during the 1950's and 1960's. From icons Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Rosa Parks captured at some of their most vulnerable moments, to famous demonstrations such as the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, the poignant photos document some of the most significant milestones in the history of the United States of America.

While the masses were fighting for freedoms across the nation, FAMU was establishing itself as a voice for justice in Tallahassee. Attention was brought to the small southern city during the Tallahassee Bus Boycott in 1956 and sit-ins in 1959, both coordinated by FAMU students and successfully challenging segregation.

The FAMU College of Law, meanwhile, was founded in 1949 in response to a failed demand by Virgil Hawkins to integrate the University of Florida Law School, and quickly became a training ground for champions of liberty and rights as law students honed their legal skills to support fellow student activists, and to later defend civil and human rights as lawyers, judges, elected officials and executives in Florida and across the country.

"The Florida A&M University College of Law was conceived from the concept of sustaining racial segregation in America and today has denounced this unwarranted birth right and is a shining example of social equality and educational opportunity for all people," said Dr. E. Murrell Dawson, Activist and Curator of the Carrie Meek-James N. Eaton, Sr. Southeastern regional Black Archives research Center and Museum, who has reviewed images from the collection.

Photographs of some of the original FAMU Law students-turned-legal pioneers, including State Senator Arthenia Joyner and civil rights attorney John Due during law school, have adorned the halls of the re-established College of Law since the permanent campus was opened in Orlando in 2006.  Adding to the photos that chronicle the law school's history, the Sharing the Dream collection of civil rights photos now debuts in a special section of the Law Library.

The FAMU Law Library is housed on four floors of the state-of-the-art College of Law campus, occupying half the space of the 160,000 gross square-foot building, and featuring over 300,000 volumes, one of the largest civil rights collection in the Southeast, and the Virgil Hawkins Collection volumes from the original College of Law that were given to Florida State University after the original school was closed in 1968.  The Law Library also features database resources in subject areas that include General Legal Research, Foreign and International Law, Federal Government, Congressional, Supreme Court, and Public Affairs.  In addition, print materials include Federal and Florida primary sources, and secondary sources, such as treaties, loose-leaf services, form books and journals, covering an array of legal topics.

Law Day was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958 to reflect on the role of law in the foundation of the country and its importance in society.  An original idea of President Eisenhower's legal counsel, Charles S. Rhyne, who was serving as the president of the American Bar Association (ABA), many local bars and legal education associations now use Law Day as a legal educational tool, especially for students.

Tours of the Sharing the Dream exhibit and Law Library will be conducted at 10 a.m., 12 Noon, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public.  To RSVP for a tour, please call 407-254-3265, or e-mail

Law Day Insert (pdf)

Sharing the DREAM (pdf)

Law Day
Caption: College of Law Dean LeRoy Pernell (left) joins students, faculty and staff members during the official unveiling of the Sharing the Dream Exhibit held April 30, 2013.