MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The violent arrest of a Black man in Oakland, Tennessee, and outcries of social injustice for people of color are two issues almost certain to be front and center as almost 1,000 predominantly Black attorneys and judges head to Memphis for the National Bar Association’s annual convention.
As Memphis prepares to host the National Bar Association’s 97th convention, its president, Judge Carlos Moore, emphasizes the importance of being here.
“I think Memphis holds a sweet spot in the National Bar Association’s heart in that it is considered by some to be ground zero of the Civil Rights Movement,” Moore said.
The Moss Point, Mississippi native and Cochran Law Firm partner says the Civil Rights Movement of today must listen to the outcry for justice as crimes against people of color escalate, such as the recent arrest of Brandon Calloway in Oakland, Tennessee.
Calloway is the Black man chased into a home, hit with a baton, and shocked with a Taser by police.
“White terrorists in this country are easily accosted without being killed, but a Black man can be driving while black, speeding while Black, and golfing while Black, and he’s almost killed or is killed,” Moore said.
The killing of Memphis pastor Autura Eason-Williams has rocked the community. Moore has some issues with the District Attorney seeking an adult trial for the teenage suspect.
“Amy (Weirich) does lip service to what she wants to do, but as far as young people, people of color she’ll prosecute those people to the fullest extent,” Moore said.
He says a courtroom is not always a place for second chances, but sometimes it is. Moore says the state of Black America is one of unequal justice.
“You know we’re fighting just a pandemic, an epidemic of police brutality,” Moore said. “It continues to happen time after time again. We still don’t have equal justice in this country.”
He says there’s a greater need for diverse lawyers and judges.
“We definitely need more Black men and women to go to law school and become lawyers and become judges, cause unless you walk the mile in someone’s shoes, you can’t feel what they have felt,” Moore said.
Moore hoping to inspire a new generation of foot soldiers in the fight for civil rights.
“Dr. King did a lot for us to get us to this point, but the race has not been won, the battle has not been won, but I do believe victory is certain if we continue to fight,” Moore said.
The National Bar Association convention gets underway July 24-July 29 in Memphis. Moore is also scheduled to be the keynote speaker next weekend for the Memphis NAACP Luncheon.