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Judge Elizabeth Finn to discuss civil rights in Arizona
Elizabeth R. Finn
The Hon. Elizabeth R. Finn, Presiding Judge for the Glendale City Court, will share personal and historical information on “The Civil Rights Struggle in Arizona” at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, in Armstrong Hall.
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is presented by the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, the John P. Morris Black Law Students Association and Arizona State University's Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.
Finn’s father, Herbert B. Finn, and Hayzel B. Daniels, the first black lawyer and judge in Arizona, successfully litigated the desegregation of Arizona’s schools in the early 1950s. At the time, Carver High School in Phoenix was the only legally segregated high school in the state.
Finn and Daniels, one of the first two African-Americans elected to the Arizona legislature, filed Phillips vs. Phoenix Union High Schools and Junior College District. Neither lawyer was paid for his work, and Daniels paid the court filing fee himself.
On Feb. 9, 1953, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Fred Struckmeyer ruled in their favor, declaring that the segregation was unconstitutional and writing that "a half century of intolerance is enough." His decision came one year before the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal,” and declared school segregation unconstitutional.
Finn’s presentation is based on her personal perspective as well as memorabilia and other documents, including newspapers of the time. She will discuss the efforts to eliminate discriminatory practices in schools, businesses, restaurants and hotels in Arizona.