The Florida Justice Association presented long-time civil rights advocate Arthenia Joyner with their highest honor — the Perry Nichols Award — celebrating the Tampa state Senator for her work in women’s and human rights.
The organization recognized Joyner for her “relentless passion for equal rights, truth, and justice,” according to a statement released today.
Just after the end of World War II, Coral Gables attorney Perry Nichols brought the state’s leading trial attorneys together to create the Negligence and Compensation Lawyers of Florida, which eventually gave rise to the Florida Justice Association. The award, created in 1977, is named after Nichols, who died in 1983.
“Senator Joyner has always been a stalwart supporter of our system of justice in Florida,” said Debra Henley, Executive Director of the Florida Justice Association. “Her knowledge, awareness, preparation, and persuasive abilities on justice issues have made her a supreme advocate for Floridians whose voices would otherwise go unheard in Tallahassee.”
The FJA congratulated Joyner on her career, both as a private citizen and in the Florida Legislature, for her efforts in advocating fairness under the law. Prior to receiving the Nichols award, she was widely known for her work on civil rights.
Joyner is part of the long history for the struggle for justice in Florida. She was one of the first participants in Tampa civil rights demonstrations during the 1960s, arrested twice while attending Florida A & M University for her efforts to desegregate movie theaters.
In 1985, when she was President of the National Bar Association, Joyner was also arrested protesting apartheid outside the South African Embassy in Washington, DC.
A private practice attorney for 44 years, longer than any other African American woman in Florida, Joyner was the first female black lawyer in Hillsborough County.