Hurwitz Fine participated in the Eighth Annual James Otis Lecture this week, held at the Robert H. Jackson Courthouse in Buffalo, NY, and sponsored by the Buffalo Chapter of ABOTA. Hurwitz Fine Attorney Michael F. Perley organized this lecture to educate Buffalo students on the significance of Unexampled Courage and how it affects our world today, and consequently to honor the late Hon. Hugh B. Scott, a pioneer in the black community who served as the first African American Assistant United States Attorney, Assistant Attorney General, Buffalo City Court Judge, and Magistrate Judge for the Western District of New York. Additionally, Michael F. Perley organized this program in Buffalo to enhance students' knowledge about the constitution.
Hon. Jeremiah J. McCarthy opened his courtroom to WNY high school students from Hutch-Tech, the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, Buffalo Seminary, and the Emerson School of Hospitality, where they were given the opportunity to attend the Unexampled Courage lecture at Federal Court. Prior to the event, teachers and attorneys from ABOTA’s Buffalo Chapter prepared students with an overview of the lecture and the constitution. The opening remarks were made by Hon. Jeremiah J. McCarthy and Michael F. Perley, Esq., who is also the National Board Representative of the Buffalo Chapter, ABOTA.
The lecture featured United States District Judge Richard Gergel of Charleston, SC, who is the author of Unexampled Courage: The Blinding of Sgt. Isaac Woodard and the Awakening of America. His book discusses the case Briggs v. Elliott, which is the companion case to Brown v. Board of Education and was the first case challenging “separate but equal” brought to the Supreme Court (even before Brown v. Board of Education). Judge Gergel discussed the racial issues that confronted South Carolina, the role played by Thurgood Marshall, lead counsel for the NAACP and Judge J. Waties Waring in bringing the issue of racial equality to the United States Supreme Court.
Seated with students were several area judges, who following the morning event, met with students to have lunch and discussed the program along with the U.S. legal system and constitutional rights.
The 2022 James Otis Lecture was dedicated to the memory of Magistrate Hugh B. Scott.