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THE FLORIDA BAR ISSUES RESOLUTION IN MEMORY OF THEODORE BOWERS, FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN ATTORNEY TO PRACTICE IN BAY COUNTY


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2017
CONTACT:
Francine Walker,
The Florida Bar
TELEPHONE:
(850) 561-5666


The Florida Bar issued a resolution in memory of civil rights attorney Theodore “Ted” Roosevelt Bowers, the first African-American attorney to practice in Bay County. He died on Oct. 14. He was 87. The resolution highlights Bowers’ exceptional commitment to the advancement of the black community and his work toward resolving racial disparities in the Bay County area.

Bowers received an LL.B. degree from Howard University in 1961 and started his legal career clerking at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. In 1962, he was admitted to The Florida Bar and remained a member for more than 50 years. He later engaged in the private practice of law in the First, Second, and Fourteenth Judicial Circuits of Florida. He served as a cooperating attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund for five years starting in 1965. Bowers worked to integrate schools in Bay County and surrounding counties so black children could have access to equal education opportunities. His legal skills were also instrumental in integrating the Bay Medical Maternity Ward and several local businesses in Bay County.

Bowers’ goal was always to “change the system and try to make America what it should be.” Although he was offered many opportunities to practice law in Washington, D.C., he was committed to the cause of civil rights and felt his services were better utilized at home in Northwest Florida.

Florida Bar President Michael J. Higer said, “Ted Bowers will be remembered as a leader and a man of character. His unparalleled tenacity and determination as he pursued justice and equality will inspire young attorneys who aim to serve and make a difference in their communities. He will be sorely missed.”

The resolution notes that Bowers’ death “has left a void in the legal community” and recognizes his “service, dedication and leadership to his fellow lawyers and the justice system.”

The resolution will be presented to Bowers’ family on Oct. 28.

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