betty_t_ferguson_web.jpgMiami — Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan spearheaded the effort to rename the Arena State Plaza Metromover Station to the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Station in honor of the first African American judge in the Dade County Circuit Court.

The Metromover Station is next to the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Federal Courthouse, which is also named in his honor.

Commissioner Jordan proposed the resolution for the renaming which was overwhelmingly accepted by the Board of County Commissioners.

Judge Ferguson was a trailblazer. In 1980, he was appointed to the Third District Court of Appeals, the first African-American judge to serve on that court. He was credited with landmark rulings that improved the quality of life for thousands of disabled Florida residents. Judge Ferguson was an advocate for the poor and powerless and truly a man of integrity.

Judge Ferguson received his Bachelor of Science degree from Florida A&M University in 1960, and his Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law in 1968. He was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Nov. 20, 1993 by President Bill Clinton.

Judge Ferguson passed in 2003. That same year, the general membership of the Black Lawyers Association voted unanimously to rename itself the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Bar Association in recognition of the outstanding contributions Judge Ferguson made to the community.

Photo: COURTESY OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY COMMISSION

LATE JUDGE’S WIFE: Betty T. Ferguson, also a former Miami-Dade commissioner.