Few people know just how much lawyers and judges shaped and sustained the success of the American civil rights movement, and in our first season we rediscover their untold legal stories. The stories of how they issued and advanced the call to establish justice. How they pried loose the meaning of equal protection of the laws. And how they forged into existence a more perfect union. The concentrated efforts of these legal figures - men and women, black and white - have remained uncelebrated and hidden too long. This podcast brings their role into plain view. We invite you to join us each Tuesday as some of the nation's foremost experts in law and history explore the heroic and vital contributions lawyers and judges made, explain what that role meant to the nation then, and examine what it means for us today.


Podcast Team

Terrass "Razz" Misher, Producer, Podcast-on-the-Go, LLC

Mia Mance, Social Media Communications, Mia Talks, LLC

Marvin Cummings, Special Voice Talent

Derrick Alexander Pope, J.D., Host


Hidden Legal Figures is licensed for the exclusive use of The Arc of Justice Institute, Inc. The Arc of Justice Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, public educational institution. Hidden Legal Figures: The Podcast copyright © 2019-2020 by Derrick Alexander Pope, J.D. All rights reserved.

See our full schedule below and enjoy Hidden Legal Figures here or on your favorite listening app!



Introducing Hidden Legal Figures

Why a podcast about lawyers? | October 8, 2019

Way Down South  | Prelude: October 15, 2019 | Full-episode: October 15, 2019

Throughout the 1950's and 1960's, the American south was a cauldron of conflict. The civil rights movement was in its prime and the legal efforts to protect rights were front and center. This episode of Hidden Legal Figures is adapted from our educational program that was a part of the annual meeting of the Southern Conference of Bar Presidents in Atlanta, Georgia.

Brown v. Board of Education Series | Prelude: October 22, 2019 | Part 1 - Goodbye to Separate-but-Equal: October 29, 2019 | Part 2 - In Deliberate Speed: November 5, 2019

Brown v. Board of Education is perhaps the best-known lawsuit from the civil rights era. But how it started - and what it really meant - remains a mystery to this day. In Part 1, Goodbye to Separate-but-Equal, legal historian and attorney Charles S. Johnson, III breaks down the beginnings of the four cases that were a part of the Brown decision and talks about all the lawyers who were involved in that historic decision, and he returns in Part 2, In Deliberate Speed, to discuss what happened when the cases made it to the Supreme Court and how Brown II continues to shape the landscape of higher education.

The Back of the Bus takes a Front Seat | Prelude: November 12, 2019 | Full episode: November 19, 2019

The Montgomery Bus Boycott makes the nation come face-to-face with the rottenness of segregation and the Jim Crow south. For 380 days, black citizens of Montgomery, Alabama refused to ride the city buses. But is was a decision by the federal courts that gave them ultimate victory. Fred Grey, the lead attorney in the case Browder v. Gayle reflects on the legal efforts associated with the effort that launched Martin Luther King, Jr. to national prominence.

Thanksgiving Message

Hidden Legal figures will be taking a short break this week in celebration of the Thanksgiving Holiday. But make sure you stay tuned next week for another great episode with Professor Christopher W. Schmidt of the Chicago-Kent College of Law.

May I Take Your Order? | Prelude: December 3, 2019 | Full-episode: December 10, 2019

As the Civil Rights Movement began to intensify, students all across the south staged lunch counter sit-ins. From Greensboro, North Carolina to Atlanta, Georgia lawyers aided them in their quest for justice. Chicago-Kent University College of Law Professor Christopher Schmidt, author of The Sit-Ins: Protest and Legal Change in the Civil Rights Era captures this iconic moment from the perspective of a legal historian.

Holiday Reflections Black to School |  December 17, 2019 

The holidays are approaching and we decided to do a "behind-the-scenes" special episode to share with you. We'll be discussing and giving our thoughts on how the podcast, the guests, and the stories have changed our lives for the better. During this season of reflection and renewal, we take a few moments to look back on the first half of our first season, highlighting some of our favorite moments and to share what we have planned for the future. We wanted to make this a special gift to our listeners and we hope you enjoy opening it up as much as we enjoyed wrapping it together. Thank you for listening and Happy Holidays from the Hidden Legal Figures podcast family.

A Tribute to Sen. Leroy Johnson | January 14, 2020 | Bonus Episode

In 1962, Leroy R. Johnson became the first African American elected to the Georgia State Senate since Reconstruction. Senator Johnson passed in October 2019 at the age of 92. In a special bonus episode, Hidden Legal Figures pays tribute to this grand and dynamic figure.

Black to School | Part 1: January 21, 2020 | Part 2: January 28, 2020

In 1961, the fate of the nation's oldest public institution of higher learning hung in the balance. It would be up to one federal judge to rule on the question of equality in education. Mercer University Law Professor Pat Longon joins us to reflect on the life and career of Judge William Augustus Bootle and the case that desegregated the University of Georgia.

They Called Him Mr. Civil Rights | Prelude: February 4, 2020 | Full episode: February 11, 2020

Donald Lee Hollowell was the one lawyer that Georgians would call on when their rights were being threatened. From his first case in 1952 all the way through his retirement in the early 90’s Hollowell’s name was synonymous with civil rights. The cases he handled are detailed by professor Maurice Daniels, author of Saving the Soul of Georgia: Donald L. Hollowell and the Struggle for Civil Rights and his enduring legacy is discussed by veteran civil rights leader, Rev. Otis Moss, Jr.

Lady Justice | Prelude: March 3, 2020 | Full episode: March 10, 2020

Constance Baker Motley was one of the most important civil rights lawyers of the twentieth century. Tapped by Thurgood Marshall early in 1945 to join the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, she was involved in more than 200 cases as either lead counsel or during the appeal of a case. In 1966, she became the first African American woman to be appointed as a federal judge. Joel Motley, III, Judge Motley’s son and producer of the multi-award-winning documentary, The Trials of Constance Baker Motley joins us to pay homage to this remarkable figure.

Noah Parden Series
Prelude: March 17, 2020 |  (pt. 1) - Jailhouse Rock: March 24, 2020 |  (pt. 2) - A Lawyer's Appeal: April 7, 2020 |  (pt. 3) - Order in the Court : April 14, 2020

In this three-part series, Mark Curriden, author of the ABA award winning Contempt of Court: The Turn of the Century Lynching that Launched a Hundred Years of Federalism, is our special guest to discuss a case that both shook and shaped the legal profession at its core.

Part 1 - In 1906 Ed Johnson was falsely accused of rape in Tennessee. In the dizzying span of just 56 days, he was arrested, tried, convicted, and executed. Curriden recounts the incident that led to the trial and how the sheriff gave cover to a lynch mob set on vengeance.

Part 2 - Noah Parden, an African American lawyer, takes over the Ed Johnson case and appeals his conviction to the United States Supreme Court. But before Parden can make it back to Tennessee after briefing Associate Justice John Harlan, Ed Johnson is taken from the jail and lynched. Mark Curriden returns to show us just how this miscarriage of justice unfolded.

Part 3 - What happens when an order of the United States Supreme Court is defied? And what if the defying party is a law enforcement officer? In the final part of this series, Mark Curriden reveals how the Ed Johnson case led to the Supreme Court holding a sheriff in contempt and how it laid the groundwork for some of the most significant constitutional decisions affecting the rights of persons accused of crimes.

A Legal Renaissance | Prelude: May 5, 2020 | Full-episode: May 12, 2020

James Weldon Johnson is best known as the composer to Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing – popularly called the Negro National Anthem, but he was also a lawyer. As the first African American Executive Secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Johnson created the framework for what would become the Legal Defense and Education Fund.

For Whom the Bell Tolls | Prelude: May 19, 2020 | Full episode: May 26, 2020

He was a son of the old south but emerged as a father of its new frontier. As a lawyer, judge, and United States Attorney General, Griffin Bell occupied a unique vantage point in the unfolding events that demanded legal redress. A special guest shines a light on this towering figure.

A View from the Mountaintop | Prelude: June 2, 2020 | Full episode: June 9, 2020

On April 4, 1968, six lawyers came to the aid of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a Federal District Court in Memphis, Tennessee. W. J. Michael “Mike” Cody - one of the lawyers - joins us to share his remembrances of the untold legal efforts that were a big part of that fateful day.

Season Wrap-up | Season 2 Preview

Derrick Alexander Pope, J.D., Host and Executive Producer

Terrass "Razz" Misher, Producer

Mia Mance, Social Media and Communications

Marvin Cummings, Sponsor Voice Over Specialist

Theme Music "Coffee Shop" and other music by PYC | PYC Music

Hidden Legal Figures: The Podcast is sponsored in part by a grant from The Georgia Bar Foundation and the Atlanta office of JonesDay.





Additional Support from:

Hon. Roy Barnes | The Law Office of Saundra M. Davis | Judge Athena Malloy Groves and Jason Groves, Esq. | Roy B. Robinson, III | Lisa West and The West Firm  | John F. Wymer, III, Esq.


HOWARD MOORE, Civil Rights Lawyer

"Hidden Legal Figures keeps the past from being just that; a neglected and little understood legacy, but fuel in the continuing struggle for justice and equality. It will inspire many in ways we never imagine."

Teri T., Stone Mountain, Georgia

I absolutely love the podcast! Not only informative but it captivates and inspires. Very well done, my dear friend!

Tarsheen P., Atlanta, Georgia

This is awesome what you are bringing to light!

Rev. William Frazier, Atlanta, Georgia

Amen. The need is great!