WEST PALM BEACH — The F. Malcolm Cunningham Sr. Bar Association’s 12th annual William M. Holland Scholarship Luncheon is set for Saturday Feb. 23rd at The Ritz Carlton, 100 S. Ocean Blvd. in Manalapan.
Guest speaker will be Judy Smith, Esq., strategic crisis manager and CEO of Smith & Company, whose life work inspired the character Olivia Pope played by Kerry Washington in the ABC-TV series Scandal.
Tickets $100 per person; call or visit cunninghambar.org
The bar association located in Palm Beach County formed in the late 1970s, when a group of black attorneys from West Palm Beach began meeting informally on a monthly basis at a local restaurant. Among them were the Hon. Edward Rodgers, the Hon. Catherine Brunson, the Hon. Moses Baker, Holland, Cunningham and T.J. Cunningham Sr., to name a few.
Because of Frank Malcolm Cunningham’s positive impact as a member of the organization and in the community, the organization was formally named F. Malcolm Cunningham Sr. Bar Association after his death in 1978.
The annual signature luncheon is named for Holland, civil rights pioneer and the first African-American attorney in Palm Beach County. The event enables the Cunningham Bar to award Florida Bar examination course preparation scholarships to deserving third-year law students.
This year there will be a special recognition of recently deceased Judge I. C. Smith. Smith, the third black lawyer in the county, joined Holland in legal practice in 1954, and together they handled cases that helped change the county: integrating public schools, the West Palm Beach Municipal Golf Course and eliminating separate eating and bathroom facilities on Florida’s Turnpike.
In 1984 he was appointed to the County Court bench by Gov. Bob Graham. Smith and Holland pioneered the process of black attorneys coming to Palm Beach County to practice their profession – law. In an interview, he once said, “Nothing separate can be equal.”
Former guest speakers include U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, nationally acclaimed motivational speaker Dr. Na’im Akbar, law professor Bryan Stevenson, Super Lawyer Attorney H.T. Smith and Appeals Eleventh Circuit Judge Charles R. Wilson.