Published on October 4, 2016 by Polly Manuel  
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Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law Cordell Hull Speakers Forum, Student Body Association and Black Law Students Association are presenting “Bridging the Gap: Walking with Experience,” a panel discussion on race and how it relates to the law, as well as the social aspects of racial disparity, featuring Cumberland School of Law alumni Judge Houston Brown and Judge John Carroll. Another Cumberland alumna, Martha Cook ’96, will moderate the event.  

The panel discussion will take place in the John L. Carroll Moot Courtroom at 11 a.m. Oct. 6. The event is free and open to the public, and offers 1.3 hours of CLE credit. 

Brown is a Birmingham native who grew up during the Civil Rights Era in the “Dynamite Hill” neighborhood. Brown received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Talladega College and received his Juris Doctorate from Cumberland School of Law in 1973. He was the first African American to receive his entire legal education at Cumberland School of Law. 

Brown was in private practice until 2000, when Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman appointed him as a civil division judge of the 10th Circuit in Jefferson County. Brown’s fellow judges unanimously elected him as presiding judge, making him the first African-American presiding judge in this circuit. He served in that position from 2000 until his retirement in 2015.  

Carroll was born in Washington, D.C., and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts. After graduation, Carroll entered the military as a Marine flight officer during the Vietnam War, where he flew more than 200 combat missions. After returning home, he earned his Juris Doctorate magna cum laude from Cumberland School of Law in 1974. 

After graduation, Carroll was named legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama. He served as a United States magistrate judge in the Middle District of Alabama from 1986 to 2001, when he became dean of the law school. After 12 years, he stepped down as dean but continues to teach courses. 

A reception will follow in Cumberland School of Law’s Great Room at the conclusion of the panel. 

Polly Manuel is marketing and communication coordinator for Cumberland School of Law.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.