So it was a large and enthusiastic crowd gathered yesterday evening for the water fountain ceremony at the Courthouse:
At a ceremony Tuesday, the Dade County Bar Association formally apologized for the two fountains — stark reminders that the courthouse was once segregated, and that racism was woven into Miami-Dade’s legal roots.
”One fountain was restricted to whites. One fountain was restricted to African Americans,” said lawyer Joseph Serota, who helped lead a courthouse renovation that focused fresh attention on the water fountains.
As part of the apology, the Bar Association unveiled a plaque above the old water fountain. It says:
“When the Florida Bar was formed in 1950, there were less than 25 black lawyers in the state.
“These lawyers represented their clients in segregated courthouses at a time when justice was neither equal nor fair, and when racial discrimination was not only countenanced by the law — it was the law.”
The ceremony, marking Black History Month and attended by dozens of lawyers and judges, was co-sponsored by the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association, the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Bar Association and the Haitian Lawyers Association.
No one is quite sure which of the two original fountains was for blacks, which for whites.
That’s easy — which one worked?
I’m running out to Court this morning but will be back, closely reviewing 3d DCA opinions, when I return.