Today, attorney Eugene K. Pettis will be sworn-in as the first black president of the Florida Bar Association. He will lead America’s second-largest state bar with over 95,000 lawyers. Pettis was born to a family of seven children. He was educated in Fort Lauderdale during the end of the Civil Rights Movement.
Pettis was faced with racism as early as twelve years old. In an all-black school with all-white faculty, he was given 67 lashes with a leather strap by two school coaches for simply running in the hallway. After being taken to an all-white school, Pettis had to defend himself daily.
“They both beat me so hard and so many times I lost count and could barely catch my breath. I was out of my mind. I was so torn up. I got home and pulled my pants down. All my buttocks and back were bruised. My dad, who was usually a quiet man, wanted to kill them,” Pettis recalled. (flcourier.com)