As part of a two-day celebration, Cumberland School of Law will host a symposium on Justice Hugo L. Black, Oct. 14, 2022 to be followed by a dedication of the Hugo Black Monument and Park in Ashland, Alabama, on Oct. 15, 2022 .
The symposium and monument dedication will celebrate the career of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, one of the nation’s foremost champions of free speech and the constitutional rights of the weak, helpless and outnumbered.
On Friday, October 14, the symposium beginning at 2 p.m. will feature panelists including retired U.S. Judge U.W. Clemon, former U.S. Senator Doug Jones, retired U.S. Magistrate Vanzetta McPherson, former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines, former Alabama Chief Justice Drayton Nabers, who clerked for Justice Black, Lynda K. Walker, CEO of the Tax Council Policy Institute, Professor Bryan Fair of the University of Alabama School of Law, Professor John Carroll of Cumberland School of Law and Steve Suitts, author of Hugo Black of Alabama.
Following the Friday seminar in Birmingham, “Amarica’s Constitution with Akhil Amar”, one of the nation’s top podcasts on Constitutional law will be taped with the seminar audience at Cumberland. Professor Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University and one of the nation's leading authorities on the Constitution, will be joined by co-host Andy Lipka. They will lead the audience in a discussion of “Hugo Black’s Originalism and Today’s Originalist Justices.” Their podcast offers weekly in-depth discussions on the most urgent and fascinating constitutional issues of the day.
The Monument and Park dedication begin in Justice Black’s hometown of Ashland, Alabama, Saturday, October 15 at 11 a.m. inside the Hugo Black Courtroom of the Clay County Courthouse. A portrait of Justice Black by Semmie Knox, the first black artist to paint an official presidential portrait, will be officially unveiled with members of the Black family present. At 2 p.m., U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson and Professor Amar will keynote the Monument Dedication.
Hosted by the Hugo Black Fund, a tax-exempt charity, the dedication is an occasion for citizens to join together in recognizing Justice Black’s contributions to Alabama and the nation. The Monument and Park in Ashland, Alabama are located on the site of the old family homeplace where Justice Black grew up and came of age until he moved to Birmingham in 1906. They are within sight of the historic Clay County Courthouse, where atop its cupola Lady Justice holds her scales.
This program is supported by the Alabama Humanities Alliance, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
All events are free of charge and the public is invited to attend. Additional information is available on the website of the Hugo Black Digital Library.