The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

The Honorable Leander Shaw

Share on Social Media

Information about The Honorable Leander Shaw

Profile image of The Honorable Leander Shaw

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
State Supreme Court Judge

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak, Potatoes
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Beaches
Favorite Quote:
I get that mixed up with the grass.

Birthplace

Born:
9/6/1930
Birth Location:
Salem, Virginia

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
State Supreme Court Judge

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak, Potatoes
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Beaches
Favorite Quote:
I get that mixed up with the grass.

Birthplace

Born:
9/6/1930
Birth Location:
Salem
See how The Honorable Leander Shaw is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Florida Supreme Court Justice Leander Shaw, Jr. was born on September 6, 1930, in Salem, Virginia. His mother was a high school teacher and his father a high school principal, who later became the dean of Graduate Studies at Florida A&M University.
Shaw earned a B.A. from West Virginia State College in 1952. After graduating, Shaw entered the Army and served in the Korean conflict as an artillery officer. Motivated by the blatant racism he experienced in the military and inspired by the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement in the South, Shaw returned to school, and received his J.D. from Howard University's School of Law in 1957.

Shaw taught at Florida A&M University's Law School from 1957-60 before entering private practice. While continuing private practice, Shaw also worked as both an assistant public defender and an assistant state's attorney in Jacksonville, Florida. His skill as a prosecutor is evident in Shaw's win/loss record: he prosecuted forty-two murder cases, and only lost one case. In 1979, Shaw was appointed to the bench, and presided over Florida's First District Court of Appeal. Just fours years later, Shaw received appointment as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida, where he served as the Chief Justice from 1990-1992 and remains its most senior member. Shaw has openly opposed Florida's continued use of the electric chair. In response to the 1999 execution of Allen Lee "Tiny" Davis, Shaw posted three-color photos taken after the event on his web site.

Shaw serves on a number of advisory boards and is a member of various professional and community associations, including the American Bar Association, the National Center for State Courts, and Florida's Human Relations Council and Police Advisory Committee. Shaw's work extends into the international sphere as well. In September of 1991, he presented a paper at the Conference of Attorneys General of the African Nations held in Nigeria. He has been granted honorary degrees from West Virginia State (LL.D.), Florida International University (Ph.D.), Nova University (LL.D), and Washington and Lee University (LL.D.) and has been the recipient of such prestigious awards as the Florida Humanist of the Year (1991), and the Ben Franklin Award (1992).

Shaw passed away on December 25, 2015.

See how The Honorable Leander Shaw is related to other HistoryMakers
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leander Shaw interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leander Shaw's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leander Shaw shares the origins of his name
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leander Shaw recalls his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leander Shaw remembers his mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leander Shaw discusses his sister
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leander Shaw recounts his upbringing in Lexington, Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leander Shaw begins to discuss his school life in Lexington, Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leander Shaw shares memories from his youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leander Shaw shares memories of his family life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leander Shaw describes his childhood avocations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leander Shaw recalls his undergraduate years at West Virginia State University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leander Shaw reviews his post-college pursuits
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leander Shaw remembers an influential professor
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leander Shaw recalls his years in the U.S. military
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leander Shaw describes his law school experience
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leander Shaw reviews his career pursuits following law school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leander Shaw recalls his employment with the NAACP's Ink Fund
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leander Shaw recounts his initial experience in private practice law
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leander Shaw recalls civil rights conflict in Florida during the 1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leander Shaw reflects on his years as a public defender
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leander Shaw details his return to private practice law
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leander Shaw recalls an offer from the Florida Workers' Compensation Commision
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Leander Shaw recalls his experience with the Florida Industrial Relations Commission
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Leander Shaw remembers his appointment to Florida's First District Court of Appeal
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Leander Shaw recounts his appointment as a Florida Supreme Court judge
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Leander Shaw recalls episodes from his years on the Florida Supreme Court
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Leander Shaw discusses Florida's process for retaining judges
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Leander Shaw recalls his campaign to retain a seat in the Florida Supreme Court
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Leander Shaw discusses Florida's death penalty policy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Leander Shaw remembers his experience as chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Leander Shaw recounts the Florida Supreme Court's role in the 2000 presidential election
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Leander Shaw recalls the court proceedings around the 2000 presidential election
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Leander Shaw considers the long-term effects of the 2000 presidential election
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Leander Shaw reflects on his life and career
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Leander Shaw considers issues in the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Leander Shaw evaluates the situation of African American youth
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Leander Shaw calls for changes in the legal system
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Leander Shaw discusses law school admissions
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Leander Shaw considers his legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Leander Shaw shares reflections on privilege