Birmingham, Alabama – Officials with three local legal groups will be waiting Saturday night to find out whether a documentary they funded about Birmingham lawyers’ and judges’ contributions to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s will win awards at the Southeast Regional Emmy awards.
“Preserving Justice,” produced by the Birmingham Bar Foundation, the Magic City Bar Association, and the Birmingham Bar Association, along with the University of Alabama’s Center for Public Television, is up for Emmy awards in the categories of writing and editing.
The National Association of Television Arts and Sciences Southeast Chapter Awards will be held Saturday night in Atlanta.
The documentary recalls the efforts of the lawyers and judges to challenge discriminatory laws and practices in Birmingham in 1963, a pivotal year in the movement.
“Our desire was to preserve the narratives of the lawyers, activists and children whose courage and commitment to justice 50 years ago served as the impetus for a change in America’s laws on civil rights,” LaVeeda Morgan Battle, who with Leila H. Watson served at film committee co-chairs on the project, stated in a prepared statement. “We are honored to be considered for these Emmy nominations, and we wish to thank all of the people who made Preserving Justice possible.”
Preserving Justice highlights the work of a number of lawyers involved in issues such as the desegregation of Birmingham schools and public facilities, such as the train station and local parks. Among those highlighted in the documentary are the late Arthur Shores, Abe Berkowitz, Orzell Billingsley, former Birmingham mayor David Vann and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. The project was part of the 50th Anniversary of the key civil rights events that happened in 1963.
“Citizens still need lawyers and judges who will pick up this hard work and carry on. I hope the documentary inspires its viewers to become the next generation of heroes,” Watson stated. “This special honor will be the catalyst for Preserving Justice to accomplish the objective of raising the work of these lawyers and judges into the public eye again, and to remember and recognize their contributions.”