The Great Trials Podcast

GTP Classic | State of Alabama v. Martin Luther King, Jr. | Derrick Alexander Pope | Hidden Legal Figures

January 18, 2022

This week, in celebration of Martin Luther King Day, we're replaying one of our favorite interviews with Derrick A. Pope of The Arc of Justice Institute (https://onthearc.net/).

 

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Episode Details:

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Hidden Legal Figures Podcast host Alexander Pope returns to discuss the landmark 1956 case against Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. for his role in the year-long Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott and violation of a 1921 anti-boycott law. An example of white Alabama officials' effort to use the courts to quash the Civil Rights Movement, the trial began with numerous attempts by prosecutors to identify King as the official leader of the boycott. King's legal team countered by trying to establish "just cause" or "legal excuse" for the boycott, with 31 witnesses sharing their first-hand experiences with abusive bus drivers and reasons for participating in the boycott. In spite of these moving statements, Judge Eugene W. Carter found King guilty of violating the anti-boycott law and fined him $500 plus an additional $500 in court costs. King's appeal was rejected, and he later paid the fine. 

 

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Guest Bio:

Derrick Alexander Pope:

Derrick Alexander Pope is President and Managing Director of The Arc of Justice Institute. In his role, he has responsibility for its standing initiatives and programs, including hosting its podcast, Hidden Legal Figures.

Before The Arc, Mr. Pope enjoyed a distinguished career in the public, private, and academic sectors. He has provided counsel to the legislative and executive branches of government at the federal, state, and county level, having most recently served as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. He is a former Assistant Legislative Counsel to the Georgia General Assembly and former Legislative and General Counsel to the Medical Association of Georgia. During the Obama administration, Mr. Pope was a member of the White House Data-Driven Justice Initiative and the My Brother's Keeper Taskforce in 2015 and 2016. In private practice, he has helped protect the inheritance rights of more than 500 families throughout Georgia. Mr. Pope is a former adjunct professor of law at the Georgia State University College of Law where he taught Probate Practice and Procedure.

Mr. Pope has several published works to his credit. He is the author of By the Content of Our Character: A Declaration of  Independence for Colored Folks, Negroes, Black People, and African Americans and Thy Will Be Done: An African American Guide to Estate Planning and the Howard Law Journal article A Constitutional Window to Interpretive Reason: Or in Other Words...The Ninth Amendment. In 2012 teaming with this daughter he released a spoken word CD - The Race Track.

An Atlanta native, Mr. Pope is a graduate of Morris Brown College and the Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana, earning top honors in the Loyola Law Clinic. He is a member of the State Bar of Georgia where serves on three standing committees (Vice-Chair, Communications/Cornerstones of Freedom Program; Advisory Committee on Legislation, and the Editorial Board of the Georgia Bar Journal, and Past Co-Chair of the Committee on Inclusion in the Profession), the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, the United States Supreme Court Historical Society, and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

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Free Resources:

Stages Of A Jury Trial - Part 1

Stages Of A Jury Trial - Part 2

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