April 30, 2019
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, in partnership with the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation (KMMF), held a reception on Wednesday, April 17, to unveil plans for a commissioned bust of the late Honorable John D. Johnson (1913-2011), one of Miami-Dade County’s pioneer black judges. The bust is being sculpted by well-known artist Brian R. Owens.
“This year, we celebrate 20 years in Miami and we wanted to do so in a meaningful way,” said Miami managing partner Juan C. Enjamio. “We felt that recognizing a pioneer like Judge Johnson and showcasing an important piece of Miami’s history would be a special way to demonstrate our commitment to the community and to honor those who had the courage to pave the way.”
As part of Hunton’s ongoing anniversary, the event also helped raise support for KMMF’s summer fellowships by awarding a scholarship to Richard Perez, a KMMF fellow. “Commissioning the bust of Judge Johnson, as well as funding one of our KMMF fellowships, shows that Hunton recognizes our history and is committed to our future,” said John Kozyak, founder and managing director of KMMF. “Judge Johnson had an extraordinary legal career and his legacy lives on as we recognize the role he played in helping to break down racial and social barriers in Miami.”
The reception was held at the Black Police Precinct Courthouse and Museum in Historic Overtown, one of the City of Miami’s oldest neighborhoods and where Judge Johnson’s bust will be housed.
The precinct building was constructed in 1950 and served as a station house and courtroom during segregation. There was no other one like it in the country at the time. “This history had been buried, but we are grateful that people can now understand the context and subtext of what was going on at that time by visiting the museum. In this way we keep the history alive,” said H. T. Smith, founding Director of the Trial Advocacy Program at Florida International University College of Law and board member of KMMF.
About 170 guests attended the event, including more than 35 judges.