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A Civil Rights Pioneer:

Virgil Darnell Hawkins

Committed to Serving the Community

Virgil Darnell Hawkins (1906-1988) was born in Okahumpka. He spent the last several decades of his life fighting to enter the University of Florida School of Law. He was initially denied admission on the basis of his race. In 1956, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Hawkins was "entitled to prompt admission under the rules and regulations applicable to other qualified candidates." After several decades, at the age of sixty-nine, Hawkins opened his law office in Leesburg, Florida. The Florida Supreme Court noted that Hawkins "seldom turned away an indigent client in need."

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