Page 26

Birmingham Bar Association - Bulletin Fall 2017

Alabama Lawyers HALL OF FAME Wendy Crew Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame 2017 Inductee John Thomas King, Senior The Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 2004 and has since inducted 60 Alabama lawyers including the 2017 inductees. Inductees must have had a distinguished career in law and must be deceased at least two years at the time of their selection. The following is the induction speech given by Wendy Crew at the 2017 Hall of Fame Ceremony in the Alabama Supreme Court Chambers in May. John Thomas King, Senior, was born to lead, and with politics in his blood, lead he did. Born to Circuit Judge Alta King and Donna King in Adamsville, Alabama, he was elected President of the student body at Phillips High School and later to SGA President at Alabama. He interrupted his studies to serve his country in the Philippines and graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1951. Just out of law school, he became an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 1952 to 1953 when he was tapped to become Chief Administrative Assistant to U.S. Representative George Huddleston in Washington, D.C. King, while enjoying a very successful career in Washington, was implored by progressive professionals to return to the turbulent times that were Birmingham in the sixties, and run for mayor. And that he did, at great cost. Running on a platform of economic growth and prosperity for all, his vision threatened the status quo, but he was able to energize young business leaders, labor, African Americans and others who saw opportunities for Birmingham in the expansion of the UAB medical facilities and better race relations. Though he did not win the mayor’s chair in 1961 or again when he ran in 1963, the forces that coalesced under his vision breathed fresh air that would reach full force in the 1963 Civil Rights movement and served as the catalyst for the change from the Commission form of Government to Mayor-Council that is presently used in Birmingham. The mayoral election had a devastating and dramatic impact on his life, but the draw of service to his community was stronger than the crushing defeats as there was so much left from his platform that he wanted to accomplish for Alabama. His political courage allowed him to run and serve as State Senator from 1971 to 1975. During his tenure he was instrumental in sculpting the way we currently practice law. He helped create the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure which took us out of the dark ages of common law pleading, and he was touted as the father of the nationally acclaimed Judicial Article that created the Unified Court System in Alabama. He was critical in the passage of the bond issue that provided the funds for the State Law Center Complex at the University of Alabama Law School. He also ensured that Alabama teachers would have group health insurance and wrote bills providing rehabilitation programs for juvenile offenders. He succeeded in passing legislation that allowed UAB to become the international medical facility that we enjoy today and he made sure that if a man could fight for his country at eighteen, he could vote at eighteen. Thomas King, Senior received many honors, just a few being having a highway named for him and acting as the City Attorney for his home town for more than twenty years, but his biggest reward was having his three sons, Alan, Tom Jr. and David practice law with him. He instilled in them, and so many others that looked up to him as a lion of our Bar, that our profession is about serving others—and his sacrifices and courage have changed not just our legal profession, but all of Alabama, for the better. G 26 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association - Bulletin Fall 2017
To see the actual publication please follow the link above