Montgomery v. State, 1908

Justice James Bryan Whitfield

Justice James Bryan Whitfield

African–American defendants in early twentieth-century Florida had been consistently denied having other African-Americans as jurors.

In 1908, Justice Whitfield, writing for the Florida Supreme Court, declared in Montgomery v. State, that a black defendant “is entitled to have a jury selected and summoned without illegal discrimination of any character.”

Regarding the landmark Montgomery v. StatePDF Download decision that opened the way for African-Americans to sit on juries, Justice Hugo Black commented in 1948 “that Judge Whitfield should have written it in 1908 is a tribute to his courage and his character.”

Case Citation: 55 Fla. 97, 45 So. 879PDF Download (PDF)
Text: Evolution of Justice brochure (PDF)

Judge White's court in the Hillsborough County Courthouse - Tampa, Florida. 1920.

Photo Credit: Florida Memory

Supreme Court Library

500 South Duval Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
850.488.8919

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In addition to more than 130,000 volumes, the Supreme Court Library houses many historical documents related to the development of the Florida Supreme Court.

On August 13, 1974, the Florida Supreme Court Library became a designated federal depository library.

“This library is a congressionally designated depository for U.S. Government documents. Public access to the government documents collection is guaranteed by public law. (Title 44 United States Code)”

Congressionally designated library

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The Supreme Court Library is open to the public Monday - Friday, excluding Court HolidaysPDF Download, from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

The library is located in downtown Tallahassee, Florida, directly across from the Capitol building. The mailing address is:

The Supreme Court Library
500 S. Duval Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399