BUILDING on the
The generation who came along five years after John Lewis and Diane Nash
on the progress we’ve made ... and haven’t
BY JERRY GRILLO PHOTOGRAPHY BY STAN KAADY
There’s a reason Atlanta is called “The Cradle of the Civil Rights
Movement.” It was headquarters for the Southern Christian
Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee (SNCC). It had—and has—the largest
system of historically black colleges and universities in the U.S.
It is the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
And for many young black professionals in the late 1960s and
early ’70s, it was the place to be.
“We recognized the advantages of trying to work in Atlanta as
opposed to some other cities across the South,” says Thomas
G. Sampson, managing partner of Thomas Kennedy Sampson
& Tompkins, the oldest minority-owned law firm in Georgia,
who moved to the city in 1971. “Even then, Atlanta was seen as a
mecca for black folks.”
Last fall, Super Lawyers interviewed seven top attorneys and
judges, men and women now in their 60s and 70s, to discover
where we’ve been and where we’re going.
“People of my era, we looked up to people who were five years
or so older than us—like Julian Bond and John Lewis and Diane
Nash—people that really changed the world,” says Charles
Johnson, a business litigator at Holland & Knight. “We knew we
were beneficiaries, but we also knew we couldn’t rest on their
accomplishments. There was more progress to be made only if
we helped make it.”
3/21/17 12:45 PM