‘Preserving Justice’ documentary about Birmingham lawyers’ contributions to civil rights nominated for two Emmy Awards

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.”


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2014 Women of Distinction Honoree

LaVeeda Morgan Battle is a 2014 Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama Women of Distinction honoree. GSNCA honored 10 women at its Women of Distinction Luncheon 2014 held at The Harbert Center. The annual event is a tribute to women who have made special contributions to their community through civic, academic or professional involvement.

Honorees were LaVeeda Morgan Battle, attorney, Battle Law Firm; Kate Cotton, vice president, Community Relations and executive director, Protective Life Foundation; Malena Cunningham, president and CEO, Strategic Media Relations, Inc.; Helene Elkus, community volunteer; Shirley Fagan, director of Communications, O’Neal Steel; Linda A. Friedman, partner, Bradley Arant Boult & Cummings; Rosilyn Houston, East Retail Regional Executive, BBVA Compass; Debra Taylor Lewis, partner, Balch & Bingham; and Lissa Tyson, community volunteer.

Teresa Zuniga Odom, volunteer in the Hispanic community, received the 2014 Mildred Bell Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award.

Battle served on Transition Team for President Obama addressing the Legal Services Corporation.

A Birmingham lawyer who served on the board of a federal legal services agency said she has been asked to help President-elect Barack Obama and his transition team members. LaVeeda Morgan Battle, with Battle Law Firm, said she was asked more than two months ago to provide information on Legal Services Corporation, a federal agency that provides civil legal assistance to poor Americans. Battle served for 10 years on the agency’s board of directors. President Clinton twice nominated her for the post and the U.S. Senate confirmed her, she said. Battle said the request is an honor. “I am certain that this, as well as all issues that the administration is going to have to address, will be carefully considered,” she said. Erin Stock — Learn More