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FAMU College of Law honors its original 57 graduates on its original campus in Tallahassee

Two people unveil a plaque with names on it. On either side of them are two more people each. The man second from right is sitting in a wheelchair.
Alejandro Santiago
WFSU Public Media
Former state Sen. Arthenia Joyner and FAMU President Larry Robinson unveil the plaque honoring the first class of law school graduates. John Due Jr. is on Robinson's left, and Deidré Keller, dean of FAMU's College of Law, is on Joyner's right.

The Florida A&M University College of Law celebrated “Rattlers for Justice” Day in Tallahassee, unveiling a plaque naming its original 57 graduates where their legal studies began.

FAMU’s law school is in Orlando now, but it began on the university’s Tallahassee campus in 1951.

The first graduating class included Congressman Alcee Hastings and state Representative Gwen Cherry…among many distinguished attorneys, judges and elected officials.

On “Rattlers for Justice” Day, the university unveiled a plaque with all their names at Coleman Library, the first site of the law school.

Former state Senator Arthenia Joyner of Tampa was one of two original graduates on hand.

“FAMU has just produced so many outstanding citizens of this state who have taken their place in the legal profession and in the activist community, and have stood out and spoke out, and are still fighting for the people," Joyner said. "For as long as I have breath in my body, I will continue the fight.”

The other original graduate at the ceremony was John Due Jr., who said although the law school is no longer on FAMU’s Tallahassee campus, “the tradition continues.”

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Margie Menzel covers local and state government for WFSU News. She has also worked at the News Service of Florida and Gannett News Service. She earned her B.A. in history at Vanderbilt University and her M.S. in journalism at Florida A&M University.