As we celebrate Black History Month, we reflect upon the important history of the Black legal community in Georgia. The first Black attorney admitted to the Georgia Bar, Styles Hutchins, was admitted in 1878. He spent much of his career practicing in Chattanooga, and served as a member of the Tennessee legislature. In the early 1940s future Atlanta Municipal Court Judge Rachel E. Pruden-Herndon became the first Black woman to pass the Georgia bar exam and be admitted to the Georgia Bar.
Several other Black members of the Georgia legal community played key roles in the civil rights movement and desegregation efforts in Georgia. Georgia attorneys including future United States District Judge Horace T. Ward, legendary civil rights attorney Donald Hollowell, and Vernon Jordan, a future leader of the National Urban League and political advisor, launched a series of challenges that ultimately led to the beginning of desegregation at the University of Georgia and Georgia State University. Another prominent Black Atlanta attorney, Howard Moore, Jr., was involved in the landmark case Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, in which the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed Congress’s authority to prohibit discrimination in public accommodations by private businesses involved in interstate commerce.
In 1948 ten African-American Atlanta lawyers, including attorney and mentor A.T. Walden, founded the Gate City Bar Association, a professional association dedicated to supporting African-American attorneys in Georgia. The Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys was founded in 1981 to promote the involvement of Black women attorneys and increase focus on women’s and children’s issues. These associations continue to work to support African-American attorneys in Georgia through education, community involvement, and events. These efforts include the Justice Robert Benham Law Camp, an three-week summer program presented in partnership with the Georgia State University College of Law. The program, named after the first African-American member of the Georgia Supreme Court, introduces minority high school students to the study of law and gives them an opportunity to intern with lawyers in the metro Atlanta area.
The Law Library and other GSU libraries have numerous books and other resources available for those wishing to learn more about the history of Black attorneys in Georgia. These resources include the following books:
Over the past few years an increasing number of courts have provided the public with the opportunity to view or listen to court proceedings online. Georgia’s appellate courts, the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Georgia, have offered live video of their oral argument sessions for several years now. The Supreme Court of Georgia has announced that its oral arguments for the week of April 20th will take place on Zoom and will be live-streamed as normal.
As for the Supreme Court of the United States, there is no indication when oral arguments will resume. On April 3rd the Court issued an order postponing oral arguments originally scheduled for the April session. UPDATE: On April 13th the Court announced that in early May it will hold oral arguments by telephone conference. The Court also stated that it “anticipates providing a live feed of these arguments to news media.”
Georgia State University is now a member of HathiTrust, a partnership between research institutions to provide online access to a vast searchable collection of materials digitized from libraries around the world. The HathiTrust Digital Library currently contains over 16 million volumes, of which approximately 37% are in the public domain.
Membership in HathiTrust means that Georgia State University researchers gain access to the full range of HathiTrust features, such as expanded full-text downloading of public domain and Creative Commons-licensed works, creation of custom collections, and special access to in-copyright materials for users with print disabilities. The HathiTrust Research Center supports computational analysis using the works in the HathiTrust Digital Library.
One of HathiTrust’s major collections is of federal government documents. As of January 1, 2018, the HathiTrust Digital Library contained over 1 million federal documents. These documents include a wealth of historical agency materials previously unavailable digitally. The ultimate goal of the HathiTrust U.S. Federal Government Documents Program is to build a complete digital collection of federal documents previously distributed to libraries in print.
The Law Library is currently accepting applications for graduate research assistants (commonly known as GRAs) for the summer and fall semesters. The Law Library has two types of GRAs – Reference GRAs and Research GRAs. Position descriptions are linked below:
Law Library GRA positions are open to all GSU law students who have completed their first two semesters of classes. Part-time students are eligible. Students applying for Summer positions must be enrolled in at least 4 hours of Summer classes. Students may apply for both types of GRA position, but cannot be hired for both positions at the same time.
Applications are due at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 8, 2016.
Reference GRA applicants: Email one document which includes a 1) cover letter, 2) current resume, and 3) completed availability form to Patrick Parsons (firstname.lastname@example.org). Include your last name in the file name.
Research GRA applicants: Email one document which includes a 1) cover letter and 2) current resume to Patrick Parsons (email@example.com). Include your last name in the file name.
The Law Library (and the rest of Georgia State University) will be closed for winter break from Saturday, December 19th, 2015 through Sunday, January 3rd, 2016. We will reopen for the new year on Monday, January 4th, 2016. Thanks for a great semester, and we hope you all have a wonderful break!
Just so you know, we’re changing up the library’s hours for the next few weeks due to the Thanksgiving holiday and the upcoming exam period. During the week of Thanksgiving we are operating with reduced hours, as follows:
Orientation is over, and fall semester starts on Monday – welcome (back) to law school! As you’re no doubt aware, quite a bit has changed. We got some new DVDs. We have some new brightly colored book trucks. There are some awesomenew faculty.
Oh, and we moved buildings.
What does this mean for you?
An actual quiet floor (the 6th floor)!
More study rooms!
A cafe in the library (coming soon)!
If you want to see what the new building looks like, stop by (bring your PantherCard to prove you’re a law student!) any time we’re open. If you want an online preview, check out the photos from our earlier post about the new library. If all of this makes you nostalgic for the old place (or if you’re a 1L and not sure why we’re so excited about our new building), we have photos of that, too.
Progress is being made but construction continues in the College of Law and the Law Library. The library will continue with temporarily shortened hours through Sunday, July 19, with slightly expanded hours for July 20-26. The library will be open to current Georgia State Law students, Georgia State Law faculty and Georgia State Law staff to use study aids, reserves, or for research assistance.
Beginning mid-day on Wednesday, July 15, the library will also begin having designated areas for study by current Georgia State Law students. Remember that the library still is a construction area and there may be periods of noise that are outside our control. There are only certain areas of the library where students will be allowed so you will need to check in at the Circulation Desk on the Fifth Floor to be directed to the study area.
8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, July 14-16
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, July 17
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, July 18-19
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, July 20-23
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, July 24
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, July 25-26
Students will need to show their ID and sign in at the Security Desk and proceed immediately to the Circulation Desk on the Fifth Floor. Library personnel will retrieve materials and direct students to an area of the library where they may sit. Students needing research assistance can also use the Red Chat Reference button in the upper left corner of the Law Library’s home page.
At this time, the computer lab, printers, copiers, and scanners are not available. Wireless access is available. We will continue to update you as construction progresses and more resources become available. If you have any questions, contact Associate Dean Kris Niedringhaus at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-413-9140.
On June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Loving v. Virginia, which struck down Virginia’s ban on interracial marriages. At the time only 17 states, concentrated mostly in the South, still had anti-miscegenation laws on the books. After the decision those laws became unenforceable.
As with many important Supreme Court decisions, there are a number of resources available if you want more information about Loving v. Virginia. A few are listed below:
As many of you undoubtedly know, Professor Julian Juergensmeyer has had a long, distinguished career in the law. This past year, he celebrated 50 years teaching law. He’s a renowned scholar of land use and planning law not only in the United States, but around the world; during his career, he’s both conducted research and taught in Ethiopia, France, Poland, Brazil, and Denmark, for example.
In the early 1970s, Professor Juergensmeyer and his friend and colleague, the late Professor James Wadley, received a grant to research water law in eastern Africa, a subject which at that time had garnered little scholarly attention. That grant resulted in the writing of a book draft, Water Law and Water Resources in Eastern Africa. However, this book went unpublished, and the record of the important work that Professors Juergensmeyer and Wadley did in tracing the development of water law in east Africa was lost.
Until now. This past academic year the College of Law launched a new online repository, the Reading Room, and we discovered that we had the opportunity to finally make the results of the research done by Professors Juergensmeyer and Wadley over 40 years ago available to the world. We recently posted the full text of Water Law and Water Resources in Eastern Africa in the Reading Room. It’s a fascinating work, weaving together African history, culture, geography, and law, illustrating how the regulation of water resources in eastern Africa was affected by both custom and the history of colonization in the region. We’re glad that Professor Juergensmeyer held onto it until now, and we’re excited to be able to make it available to all of you.