African American Attorneys In Hawaii

About the author

Daphne Barbee-Wooten has authored several articles, Hawaii Bar Journal, Hawaii's First Black Lawyer, February 2004, Hawaii Bar Journal, The Lawgiver: George Marion Johnson, J.D., LLD, February 2005, Hawaii Bar Journal, "Spreading the Aloha of Civil Rights", October 1999. Hawaii Women Lawyers "Our Rights, Our Lives” hand book, contributing writer, co-editor for 3rd Edition, December 1996, Essence Magazine, African Americans in Hawaii, April 1994, Hawaii Bar Journal, "Hawaii Civil Rights Commission", August 1993, Contributing Writer in AGo Girl!

The Black Woman’s Guide to Travel and Adventure, "Visiting Nanny Town,” (The Eight Mountain Press, 1997), "Following the Tradewinds: African Americans in Hawaii", 2004, contributing author. She also is a regular contributing writer to Mahogany and Afro-Hawaii News, monthly periodicals which emphasize events within the African American community in Hawaii. She was President of African American Lawyers Association in 2003.

About the book

African American, Black lawyers practiced law in the United States before the Civil War ended. Although the number of black lawyers is disproportionately low compared with white lawyers, the numbers are rising. Black lawyers have been instrumental in obtaining and securing equal rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Black lawyers have a keen insight into civil rights violations because they are descendants of an unfair slavery system based upon skin color. Black lawyers who made their way to the Hawaiian Islands continued the civil rights struggle and through law, politics, government and other social acts. Their acts helped Hawaii have a more just and egalitarian legal system.

As an African American lawyer in Hawaii, I felt it was essential to document our contributions. I start with early beginnings, recognizing two African American lawyers, T. McCants Stewart and Dr. George Johnson, both of whom attained International, National and Local prominence in Hawaii.

After presenting early African American lawyers in Hawaii, this book showcases case law and events affecting race discrimination in Hawaii as it pertains to African Americans. From the 1950's through the 1980's, African Americans were not always welcome in Hawaii. Many liquor establishments refused to serve Black military men and allow them into their establishments.

Mayor Frank Fasi appointed Dr. John Edwards to the liquor commission in the 1980's. After this appointment, the Liquor Commission began to fine establishments who discriminated. In the late 1980's, the Civil Rights Commission of Hawaii was created. Several of its rulings dealt with discrimination against African Americans.

The African American Lawyers Association was formed after a prominent Hawaii Court Judge referred to an African American Bail Bondsman using the "n" word. The African American Lawyers Association (AALA) is still an active watchdog for civil rights and gives away scholarships to the youth for writing essays on civil rights.

Some of the winning essays are presented. Minutes of the first meetings of AALA are included along with brief sketches of African American lawyers in Hawaii and historical events they were involved. African American lawyers of Hawaii members are active with the National Bar Association, the largest organization of African American lawyers and Judges in the world.

In 2004, AALA members traveled with the NBA to South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. A travelogue of this trip concludes the book, a celebration with returning to Africa, meeting, connecting and observing the African legal system of 3 countries.

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