On January 17, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump will speak at Florida State as part of the Golden Torch Lecture Series. The event will be held in the Ruby Diamond Concert Hall, and students can acquire tickets for free.
Crump’s speech comes at the start of the university’s “MLK Week,” which has been hosted at Florida State for more than three decades. The celebration will occur from January 16 to January 20, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on January 15.
Here are some things students should know in the days leading up to Crump’s lecture.
Who is Benjamin Crump?
One of the most prominent civil rights attorneys in the United States, Crump received his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and his law degree from the Florida State University College of Law. His ties to the community remain strong, as his law office is located in Tallahassee.
Crump attracted national attention after representing the family of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African-American male who was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in February of 2012. He has also represented the families of Michael Brown and George Floyd, among others.
Crump is currently leading a lawsuit against cosmetics company L’Oréal USA for allegedly marketing hair straightening products that increase the risk of uterine cancer. Black women are most likely to utilize these products, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
In June of 2022, Netflix released a documentary titled “Civil: Ben Crump.” The film revolved around Crump’s career and gave viewers a glimpse into aspects of his personal life. It received generally positive reviews from critics.
Crump has been at the center of various controversies over the past decade. In 2022, Crump posted to Twitter that Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African-American male, was killed by police “with his hands up in surrender.” According to a report by the Obama administration’s Department of Justice in 2015, the claim that Brown was shot by Officer Darren Wilson while surrendering is false.
In April of 2021, following the fatal police shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio, Crump asserted Bryant was unarmed. This was contradicted by footage of the event, which revealed Bryant had a knife in her right hand and lunged at another girl before police opened fire.
Despite these incorrect claims, Crump has been referred to as “Black America’s attorney general.” Crump told the Independent in December, “Every morning, I wake up, go fight for equal justice under the law and justice for all.”
Details for attending
The event will take place on Tuesday, January 17, in the Ruby Diamond Concert Hall. This is located within the Westcott Building, the address of which is 222 South Copeland Street.
Crump’s lecture begins at 8 p.m, and both students and members of the public are welcome to attend.