In the early 1920s, there were fewer than 100 black lawyers serving nine million black people in the entire South. There was little to no support for Black attorneys in the United States. In an effort to obtain support, share learnings and sharpen skills, minority bar associations formed throughout the United States.
George H. Woodson, S. Joe Brown, Gertrude E. Rush, James B. Morris, Charles P. Howard, Sr., Wendell E. Green, C. Francis Stradford, Jesse N. Baker, William H. Haynes, George C. Adams, Charles H. Calloway and L. Amasa Knox conceived the National Bar Association (NBA), formally organized in Des Moines, IA on August 1, 1925. Over the past 75 years, the NBA has grown enormously in size and influence.
The objectives of the NBA “…shall be to advance the science of jurisprudence; improve the administration of justice; preserve the independence of the judiciary and to uphold the honor and integrity of the legal profession; to promote professional and social intercourse among the members of the American and the international bars; to promote legislation that will improve the economic condition of all American citizens, regardless of race, sex or creed in their efforts to secure a free and untrammeled use of the franchise guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States; and to protect the civil and political rights of the citizens and residents of the United States.”
Recognizing that certain segments of the population have historically been unrepresented or under-represented in the legal arena, and recognizing that justice is a blind concept, yet sometimes unjustly administered, the Alabama Lawyers Association, (formerly known as the Alabama Black Lawyers Association) was organized in 1971.
The founding members of Alabama Lawyers Association include the following: Justice Oscar Adams (deceased), Algernon J. Cooper, Fred D. Gray, Sr., Retired Chief U. S. Federal District Judge U. W. Clemon, Henry “Hank” Sanders, Rose M. Sanders, Earl Hilliard, Vernon Crawford (deceased), J. Mason Davis, Jr, and David Coar.
The Alabama Lawyers Association (“ALA”) exists to enhance the integrity of the legal profession, to improve the quality of legal services provided to the public and to protect the civil rights of the citizens of the State of Alabama. It has four (4) affiliate chapters in Alabama: (1) The Magic City Bar, (2) Capital City Bar, (3) Vernon Crawford Bar and (4) Black Belt Bar.