The new Center for Law and Social Justice at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, recently held its first official event. The director of the new center is Hubert Grimes, who served as a circuit court judge for 25 years. Grimes also taught at the Florida A&M University School of Law for seven years. He is the author of the 2010 book How to Keep Your Child From Going to Jail: Restoring Parental Authority and Developing Successful Youth. Grimes is a graduate of Kentucky State University and the University of Georgia School of Law.
The inaugural event was a tribute to Virgil Hawkins, a Bethune-Cookman graduate who fought an unsuccessful 10-year legal battle to gain admission to the law school of the University of Florida. In 1959, Hawkins abandoned his battle in exchange for an agreement by the University of Florida to permit other Black students to attend graduate and professional schools at the university. Hawkins went on to graduate from the New England Law School. He later returned to Bethune-Cookman as director of public relations.
The inaugural event of the Center for Law and Social Justice included an address by Eugene Pettis, the first African American president of the Florida Bar Association. Pettis earned bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Florida.