Harley Herman

"What makes this case significant both from Florida history and the national perspective is that Florida became the first state to engage in massive resistance against federal orders and federal mandates and it became part of a pattern across the South that really did not see its end until George Wallace was removed from the steps of the University of Alabama. But Florida started it first in what essentially became a Fort Sumter of a second Civil War in this country and it was part of a coordinated effort which is important to understand when we look at this Court and what had happened during that history.", excerpt from Harley Herman's May 25, 1999 presentation at the Florida Supreme Court's ceremonial session honoring the fiftieth anniversary of the lawsuit brought by Virgil Hawkins. This Florida Supreme Court ceremonial session is most likely the "1999 formal apology" that FSU President John Thrasher and his advisory panel are referring to in their decision to rename B.K. Roberts Hall.


Click here to see the entire ceremony on WSFU's Gavel to Gavel website. The Florida Supreme Court librarian and archivist could not find any 1999 formal apology by the Florida Supreme Court and suggested that this 1999 video which they sent to me as an email link is most likely what is being referred to as the Court's "1999 formal apology" regarding its Virgil D. Hawkins decisions. Nowhere in the video is either a vote taken by the Justices or an apology of any kind mentioned by any Justice, the Justices merely enter the Court, take their seat and watch the video and presentations with the Chief Justice moderating then making a few closing remarks after which the Justices exit.