Sen. Leroy Johnson Honored by State Bar of Georgia's Lifetime Achievement Award

Date Released: March 2, 2017

Former Georgia State Senator Leroy Johnson ’49 was recently honored by the State Bar of Georgia and the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism with their Justice Robert Benham Lifetime Achievement award for Community Service. The awards are given to judges and lawyers from across Georgia who have been leaders in community service. Johnson was presented with his award on Tuesday, Feb. 28. at the State Bar of Georgia.

A civil rights lawyer, Johnson was the first African-American state senator elected in Georgia since Reconstruction. Johnson still practices law through his firm Leroy R. Johnson & Associates, P.C. He represented many notable civil rights leaders and those involved in historic civil rights demonstrations, including black college students arrested following sit-ins at lunch counters.

Elected to the senate in 1962, Johnson broke barriers in the State Capitol, leading to the desegregation of many of its areas. In honor of his achievements, the State of Georgia authorized his portrait to be hung in the halls of the Capitol in 1996, making him the first black elected official and the first living person, aside from the governor or lieutenant governor, to receive such recognition.

In 1970, Johnson helped bring boxing great Muhammad Ali back to the ring. He obtained the boxing license for Ali after 67 other cities denied him a license following the fighter’s refusal to be inducted into the United States Army.

 Read more about Johnson’s historic career in the Georgia Bar Journal.

Last Modified: March 2, 2017, 13:03 PM, by: Vanzetta Evans

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