Wednesday, June 14, 2006

John "Major" Wisdom

Earlier I made a horrible pun about the judge they named the Court of Appeals building after. I walk through the courtyard every day and I started wondering about the man. I did a little research and learned that I'm an idiot.

Judge John Minor Wisdom is known as the father of landmark civil rights decisions. He was part of the "Fifth Circuit Four". They were a group of deep south judges in the fifties and sixties who enforced civil rights laws including desegregation and voting rights. It was Judge Wisdom who had a critical role in implementing the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. The "Four" were certainly some of the bravest to ever sit on any bench.

President Clinton awarded Judge Wisdom the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993 and signed the bill naming the building after him in 1994.

Phenomenal choice for a namesake.

There's a book about Wisdom and the rest of the "Four" called Unlikely Heroes. I need to check that out.

Couple of interesting tidbits I've learned about the building. They used the hall inside to film parts of Kingfish, the Huey Long biography. It's one of my favorite movies ever. Don't listen to any haters, it rules. Judge Wisdom wasn't a Long fan by any stretch. He switched to the Republican party in response to the Kingfish.

The outside of the building was also used in JFK.

On that note, the front steps of the building are just a few feet away from 544 Camp Street. That's the address Lee Harvey Oswald used for all his political literature.

So, in conclusion, cool building - phenomenal man. RIP Judge Wisdom.


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