ANOTHER SUPREME SUCCESS
As the nearly 400 guests of A Supreme Evening 2020 arrived on the Champion Level of Florida State University Center Club, they were provided an impressive view of the University’s football field during the cocktail reception where they enjoyed live music provided by the Lincoln Electric Rock Orchestra. rock orchestra. The live music continued in University Center’s main ballroom with the classic string orchestra, and the dinner event started with a moving rendition of the national anthem led by the Historical Society’s immediate past president, Edward Guedes. The Historical Society’s President, Jon Claussen, welcomed and thanked the guests for their support of this premier Judicial dinner event. Society Board member and past Florida Bar president Hank Coxe again performed admirably, and humorously, as master of ceremonies as he introduced the current and former Justices in attendance. He also recognized other members of Florida’s judiciary that were well represented at every level from throughout the state.
After dinner, Jon Claussen provided the guests with insight on the many activities the Historical Society has been involved in over the last year, including hosting celebrations for the three Justices that retired in January of last year and investitures for the three newly appointed Justices. Chief Justice Canady presented his State of the Florida Supreme Court address. The Chief Justice commented on several points, including sharing some of the court’s new initiatives that will be starting later in the year.
The evening’s keynote speaker,
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gilbert King, was introduced admirably by State
Representative Geraldine Thompson. Representative
Thompson has worked tirelessly for many years for pardoning the four African
American men that had were falsely accused of raping a white woman in Lake
County in the 1950s. Gilbert King’s award-winning book sheds light on the
incredible atrocities perpetrated against the four men by the racist Lake
County Sheriff Willis McCall in his book Devil
in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New
America. Mr. King is a masterful storyteller and he kept the audience’s
full attention as he discussed the well-researched details in his newest book,
Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of
Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found, which brings attention to
McCall’s efforts to frame a disabled teenager for the rape of a Leesburg
socialite. He also spoke about the injustices faced in Central Florida decades
ago, as well as the posthumous pardon of the Groveland Four by Gov. Ron
DeSantis and the Florida Clemency Board in the first week that he took office
in January 2019.
The Supreme Evening is the premier fundraising and friend-raising event for the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society. The Society brings together interested persons from the legal profession and the broader community to preserve Court history and make it publicly accessible for the benefit of the citizens of Florida.
A SUPREME EVENING 2020