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St. Thomas University's Law School named after civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump

St. Thomas University's Law School named after civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump
St. Thomas University's Law School named after civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump 02:16

MIAMI - The Law School at Saint Thomas University now bears a new, yet very familiar, name.

It is now named for civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump.

"We will never forget this moment, this historic moment for Black history, for American history," Crump said to cheers from the crowd gathered to mark the occasion.

It's the first law school in the country named after a practicing Black attorney and celebrating the name change during Black History Month made it extra special.

"It's about coming together. We've got to start building bridges past our ideology and politics and race to make this world a better place. And having Ben Crump's name on a Catholic University's College of Law, we're building those bridges," said STU President David A. Armstrong.

Local leaders, activists, and even celebrities were there, including a surprise appearance by actor Will Smith.

"Ben has been an absolutely spectacular friend and guide and that's why it was important for me to be here today. There are very few people in the world with a heart like this," Smith said while hugging Crump on stage.

Crump, referred to by some as "Black America's Attorney General" has represented many people through their agony and activism.

The families of Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, and most recently, Tyre Nichols have turned to him for legal guidance and support.

"Benjamin Crump is more than just an attorney for me. He's a friend. He was a supporter. He explained everything we were going through," said Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother.

"Mr. Crump has held me up when I felt like falling down," said Amy Sutherland, whose son Jamal died in police custody. "I feel good to have (Crump) with me. I'm proud of him."

For Crump, this honor is a continuation of a lifelong mission.

"This day is special not so much because I'm given recognition with the naming of the law school, but it is special because of what we are going to do at the Saint Thomas Law School to make a better world for all of our children," he said.

Saint Thomas University's Law School is considered one of the most diverse in the country, a fact that drew Attorney Crump to the institution in the first place.

"The only way we can be a spark of light to ignite the change needed in this world is if everybody has a seat at the table," he said. "Education provides an opportunity for young people to have a seat at the table."

The only other law school in the country named for a black person is named after Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall -- Attorney Crump's personal hero. 

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