Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The Dade County Bar Association is hanging a plaque today in the Miami Courthouse at 73 West Flagler apologizing for the history of segregation at the courthouse. The title of the post links to the Herald article.
As a criminal defense attorney who's been forced to sit by himself when in civil court, I think the apology is long overdue.
Seriously. There are two ways to look at this.
One group says that the sins of the fathers should not be visited upon their sons. Put another way, there is no such thing as collective guilt, only individual actions that should be punished accordingly. And we don't disagree with that sentiment at all.
But the other way to look at this is that it is less an apology than an acknowledgment of a horrible wrong. There is no justification for judging a fellow human being on anything other than " the content of their character", to borrow an oft quoted phrase from Dr. King. Lawyers led the fight to end segregation, and for that our profession has much to be proud of. Unfortunately, we fought other lawyers and judges, especially in the deep south, who held the line for segregation for as long as they could. And that was shameful.
It is important that we acknowledge our mistakes. As Americans, it is what differs us from other nations that sweep their mistakes under the rug.
So while many of us have nothing to apologize for, it is important to remember that our society does. And remembering this wrong will hopefully make sure we don't repeat it in the future.
It's not like we as a country are debating things like whether children of immigrants should be allowed in public schools, or whether immigrants should be allowed access to life saving health care. Right?
See You In Court.
PS. We just checked the Broward the Blog. And they point out that the Broward Courthouse has a statute of a governor who wanted to exile all black americans back to Africa. They named the whole damn county after him. Karma baby.
And they wonder why the lord keeps flooding their courthouse and why yesterday it caught on fire. There was even a hurricane in the last few years that blew out most of their windows. And they just don't get it up there do they?
Now this is just pure speculation mind you, but if an earthquake was ever to strike Florida, just where do you think the fault line would be?
Here's a fun way to occupy your time while waiting in line in the courthouse north of the border: If Broward was apologize for their history of segregation by renaming their county, what should the new name be?
"NOT DADE". "ROSS COUNTY". "ROBT E LEE COUNTY (wait, Florida already has a Lee county.) Pick your own favourite and post it.