Virgil Darnell Hawkins

Black History Heroes | Virgil Darnell Hawkins
Posted on 02/10/2020
Virgil Darnell HawkinsVirgil Darnell Hawkins graduated from Edward Waters College in Jacksonville in 1930. He served as a teacher and principal in Lake County before eventually becoming the public relations director for Bethune-Cookman College.

In April 1949, Hawkins and five other African Americans applied for admission to professional schools at the University of Florida in Gainesville. They were denied admission because of their race, whereupon the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) filed a lawsuit.

The United States Supreme Court ruled against segregated educational institutions on several occasions in the 1950s, but Florida continued to deny Hawkins' admission to the University's law school on the pretext of preventing "public mischief." Hawkins finally agreed to withdraw his application after the state agreed that other African Americans would be permitted to enroll at the school. Hawkins went on to earn his law degree from the New England School of Law in Boston in 1964.

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SDIRC would like to thank the Indian River County NAACP Branch #5151 for providing the content in today's 'Black History Heroes' biography.