First Black Graduate of U of Florida Is Honored

W. George Allen is celebrated 50 years after graduating from the University of Florida's law school.

(Photo: University Of Florida)

Black alumni of the University of Florida will mark the 50th anniversary of the first African-American student to graduate from the school this weekend.

Celebrations will honor W. George Allen, the first Black graduate of the University of Florida, and George H. Starke Jr., the first African-American student admitted to the school.

“I have been inspired by the calls and emails I’ve received from Black alumni who have not been back to Gainesville in years, yet are making it a point to get back for this occasion,” said Terry Nealy, national president of the University of Florida Association of Black Alumni.

Allen graduated from the university’s law school in 1962. While in law school, he was active in civil rights, having organized lunch counter sit-ins around Gainesville, Florida, near the university.

After he graduated from the law school, Allen filed a suit that led to the integration of Broward County’s public accommodations and public school system. In 1963, Allen and his family moved to Fort Lauderdale after he passed the bar exam and was admitted to the Florida Bar Association. 

Allen was hired at the law firm of Orr & Kaplan. After six months, Allen started his own law practice, where he has practiced for 42 years. Allen specializes in trial work, probate, personal injury, insurance defense and wrongful death lawsuits. 

In 2003, Allen was inducted into the National Bar Association’s Hall of Fame. In 2005, he was appointed by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to the board of directors of Florida A&M University, Allen’s alma mater.

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