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Civil Rights Law Student, Remembered-Virgil Hawkins

  • Broadcast in Culture
Gist of Freedom

Gist of Freedom


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Join The Gist of Freedom live on location, UNESCO Cnference with attorney Harvey Herman, as we discuss attorney Activist, Virgil D. Hawkins and visit his monument in Florida.


In 1949, Civil Rights Activist, Attorney Virgil D. Hawkins, as a student  applied to the University of Florida (UF) law school but was denied entry because of his race. He was urged to attend law school outside Florida but refused and sued the state, which responded by establishing a law school at FAMU. While he was admitted to FAMU’s law school, Hawkins continued his fight for acceptance at the University of Florida. Although he was unsuccessful, Hawkins’ long-fought battle led to the ultimate desegregation of the University of Florida. Hawkins received his law degree from the New England College of Law more than 20 years after applying to UF.

The FAMU College of Law was founded in 1949 on the main campus in Tallahassee. After graduating 57 lawyers, the law school was closed by the state of Florida in 1968. The Florida Legislature voted to reopen the law school in 2000 and Orlando was selected as the location. The reestablished FAMU College of Law opened its doors in 2002 and is now housed in a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Orlando’s Parramore neighborhood.