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The Honorable Alford Dempsey, Jr.

County Superior Court Judge Alford J. Dempsey, Jr. was born on March 19, 1947 in Atlanta, Georgia to his parents Alford J. Dempsey, Sr. and Maenelle Dempsey. His father served in the U.S. Army and was assigned to General Eisenhower's honor guard in Europe after World War II. While growing up, Dempsey wanted to join the military to emulate his father. His mother was an educator who worked for the State of Georgia’s Department of Education, developing schools in African American communities throughout Georgia. In 1965, Dempsey graduated from New Hampton School, a boarding school in New Hampshire where he played football, basketball, and baseball. Dempsey entered Columbia University that same year as a pre-med student. While at Columbia, Dempsey participated in the 1968 student protests. He later transferred to Morehouse College in Atlanta where he graduated with honors with his B.A. degree in economics in 1972 and in 1976, Dempsey earned his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School.

Dempsey began his legal career working on Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign. He later became assistant city attorney for the City of Atlanta’s Department of Law. In 1992, Dempsey was named judge of the Magistrate Court of Fulton County/State Court in Atlanta. He was appointed by Fulton County State Court Chief Clarence Coopers. In 1995, Dempsey was then appointed to the Fulton County Superior Court by Governor Zell Miller where he presided over civil and felony criminal cases. Dempsey was also instrumental in the development and implementation of the Fulton County Family Court. Dempsey has presided over many high profile cases throughout his career including the case involving the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and allegations of misspending by its leadership.

Dempsey has served as a member of a number of professional legal organizations, including the American Judges Association, the American Judicature Society, the Atlanta Bar Association (Past Chair Judicial Section), the Bleckley Inn of Court, the Gate City Bar Association (Immediate Past Chair Judicial Section), and the National Bar Association.

Dempsey has also been active in numerous community organizations including serving as the District Chair of the South Atlanta District of the Boy Scouts of America, a Board member and past president of the Board of Carrie Steele-Pitts Home and a Board member of Sisters By Choice, Inc.

Alford J. Dempsey, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 20, 2011.

Accession Number

A2011.019

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

4/20/2011

Last Name

Dempsey

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

J.

Schools

Oglethorpe Elementary School

Washington High School

New Hampton Community School

Columbia University

Morehouse College

Harvard Law School

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Alford

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

DEM01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Italy

Favorite Quote

If washing don't get you, the rinsing sure will.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

3/19/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Snapper (Twice-Baked)

Short Description

County superior court judge The Honorable Alford Dempsey, Jr. (1947 - ) has been the presiding judge of the Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta, Georgia and was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Fulton County Family Court.

Employment

City of Atlanta Deparment of Law

Magistrate Court of Fulton County/State Court Presiding Judge

Superior Court of Fulton County

Favorite Color

Green

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alford Dempsey's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alford Dempsey relates stories from his father

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alford Dempsey talks about his father's education and career in the U.S. Military

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alford Dempsey discusses his father's experience with segregation in the U.S. Army

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alford Dempsey talks about his mother's career, educational background and mother's side of the family in Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alford Dempsey describes his maternal family in Noonan, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alford Dempsey describes his parents' marriage and his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alford Dempsey talks about his birthplace, his adopted sibling, and the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alford Dempsey describes the neighborhood where he spent his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alford Dempsey talks about the Scott family, owners of the Atlanta Daily World, as well as his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alford Dempsey describes his family's church, First Congregational Church in Atlanta, and his activities as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alford Dempsey talks about his participation in sports and his experience attending Washington High School and New Hampton Boarding School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alford Dempsey talks about the New Hampton Boarding School in New Hampshire

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alford Dempsey talks about his student activities and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alford Dempsey describes his experience at the New Hampton Boarding School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alford Dempsey discusses how he chose Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alford Dempsey describes his difficulties as a student at Columbia University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alford Dempsey talks about his academic performance and student activities

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alford Dempsey describes the 1968 Columbia University student protest

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alford Dempsey describes the differences between the two 1968 Columbia student protests

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alford Dempsey describes his band, the Soul Syndicate, and the famous musicians he met in New York and Atlanta

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alford Dempsey recalls his time working at the Bird Cage Restaurant and Lounge in Atlanta

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alford Dempsey discusses meeting his wife, Colleen

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alford Dempsey talks about leaving Columbia University to attend Morehouse College

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alford Dempsey describes his time between graduating from Morehouse College, and attending Harvard Law School

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alford Dempsey talks about his twin daughters, Audrey and Angela, and his grandchildren

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alford Dempsey discusses attending Harvard University Law School and his job search

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alford Dempsey describes his work for the Atlanta City Attorney's Office

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Alford Dempsey discusses the Minority and Female Business Enterprise Program and Maynard Jackson's impact as Mayor of Atlanta

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Alford Dempsey talks about the Atlanta Child Murders in 1979 and his son Alford James Dempsey, III

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Alford Dempsey describes his work for the City of Atlanta, teaching at Atlanta University and his private practice

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Alford Dempsey discusses his appointment to the magistrate court of Fulton County, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Alford Dempsey talks about leaving the City Attorney's Office and his relationship with Hamilton E. Holmes

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Alford Dempsey describes his experience as a judge in the Fulton County Superior Court

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Alford Dempsey talks about the Olympic bombing in Atlanta and the events of September 11, 2001

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Alford Dempsey discusses his wife's battle with breast cancer

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Alford Dempsey describes his work with the organization, Sisters by Choice

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Alford Dempsey describes his life and projects after the death of his wife

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Alford Dempsey describes the Brian Nichols courthouse shooting incident in Atlanta

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Alford Dempsey continues his discussion of Atlanta's Brian Nichols

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Alford Dempsey talks about his board affiliations, public service and charitable organizations

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Alford Dempsey discusses his legacy, goals and objectives

The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr.

Judge Herbert E. Tucker, Jr., was born in Boston on August 30, 1915. After graduating from the Boston Latin School, Tucker attended Northeastern School of Law, earning his J.D.

Upon completing his law degree, Tucker was hired by the Internal Revenue Service as a revenue agent in 1943. Tucker remained with the IRS until 1952, when he established a private practice, Cardozo & Tucker. In 1959, Tucker was named assistant attorney general of the state of Massachusetts, where he remained for nine years. At the time, he also served as president of the Boston chapter of the NAACP. In his dual capacities, Tucker sought a probe of the Boston Red Sox as a result of their releasing their only African American player in what Tucker described as an ongoing pattern of discrimination.

In 1960, Tucker was appointed by Senator John F. Kennedy to the civil rights section of his 1960 presidential campaign. In 1969, Tucker became commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities and was named chairman in 1972. The following year, Tucker was named special justice to the Municipal Court of Dorchester, and in 1974 he became the presiding justice of the district. Leaving Dorchester, Tucker became the presiding judge of the Edgartown District Court in 1979, where he remained until his retirement in 1985. For much of his career, Tucker was also a lecturer at several universities, including Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern University and Harvard College.

Tucker has been involved with a number of organizations over the years, including serving as the grand basileus of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity from 1955 to 1958. He currently serves as a trustee of the fraternity, a position he has held since 1969. He has also served as the chairman of the executive committee of Simmons College since that year. His alma mater, Northeastern University, named him the alumnus of the year in 1971. Tucker and his wife, Mary, have two children. Tucker passed away on March 1, 2007.

Accession Number

A2003.188

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/14/2003

Last Name

Tucker

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

E.

Organizations
Schools

George A. Lewis Middle School

W.L.P. Boardman Elementary

Boston Latin School

Northeastern University

First Name

Herbert

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

TUC02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

8/30/1915

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Death Date

3/1/2007

Short Description

Civic leader and county superior court judge The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. (1915 - 2007 ) was the presiding judge in the Edgartown District Court in Massachusetts. Tucker was appointed by Senator John F. Kennedy to the civil rights section of his 1960 presidential campaign and served as president of the Boston chapter of the NAACP.

Employment

Internal Revenue Service

Cardozo & Tucker

State of Massachusetts

Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities

Dorchester District Court

Edgartown District Court

Boston College

Boston University

Northeastern University

Harvard University

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about his parents, Herbert Tucker and S. Ella Fitzgerald Tucker

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. recalls how his parents met and lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes his father, Herbert Tucker

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about his teachers in elementary school and at the Boston Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes his childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes his family life growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. recalls his mother, S. Ella Fitzgerald Tucker's death

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about attending Boston Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. remembers some of the teachers and students at Boston Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes working while in school and getting into law school in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about what subjects he liked at the Boston Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes how his father encouraged him to go to law school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about his wife, Mary Tucker

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes law school at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and working for the WPA

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes the migration of African Americans to Boston, Massachusetts after World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about working as a redcap at South Station in Boston, Massachusetts and helping Willard Townsend to form their union

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes meeting and marrying his wife, Mary Tucker, pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes meeting and marrying his wife, Mary Tucker, pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about his professional life after his marriage in 1937

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about starting his law practice, Cardozo & Tucker in 1947 in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. explains how he met President John F. Kennedy

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about his relationship with HistoryMaker, Senator Edward Brooke

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about being appointed assistant attorney general and his relationship with Edward McCormack

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes experiencing racial discrimination in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about his involvement on the NAACP Legal Redress Committee

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. discusses his work with Charles Engelhard and Kenneth Gibson

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about his proudest accomplishments as president of the Boston, Massachusetts chapter of the NAACP

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes becoming commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes his achievements as Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities commissioner

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. compares his roles as assistant attorney general in Massachusetts and Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities commissioner

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about the death of his father, Herbert Tucker, in 1948

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes being a special justice to the Municipal Court of Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes being a special justice to the Municipal Court of Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. reflects on his role as a judge, and what makes a good judge

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes the Boston Municipal Court system, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes the Boston Municipal Court system, pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes how he became the presiding judge in the Edgartown District Court in 1979

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about Martha's Vineyard, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about Martha's Vineyard, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes history of the African American community in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, and its philosophy and members

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. reflects on his greatest achievement as Grand Basileus of Omega Psi Phi fraternity in 1955

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. remembers his friend, HistoryMaker Edward Brooke

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about being general counsel of Simmonds College in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. reflects upon the civil rights movement and the African American community today

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about people he has known, including HistoryMakers Honorable George Leighton and Truman K. Gibson, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. shares a memory of President John F. Kennedy

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. describes Boston, Massachusetts' African American community and different scandals in the city

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. explains why he likes the legal profession

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. reflects upon his legacy and describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

2$1

DATitle
The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. explains how he met President John F. Kennedy
The Honorable Herbert Tucker, Jr. talks about Martha's Vineyard, pt. 1
Transcript
How did you meet [President John F.] Jack Kennedy?$$How did he meet me (laughter).$$Or how did he meet you? Let's ask that question.$$Well, I think I owe that to my fraternity. I was Grand Basileus of Omega Psi Phi [Omega Psi Phi Fraternity]. And that means I was the national president of--and of course had contacts all through the states. Jack Kennedy was a congressman from Boston [Massachusetts] in an all Irish--with all Irish constituents. And he didn't know any black people. And somehow I took a liking to him. And when I was Grand Basileus we had what we call program of--achievement week program we have national speakers come. And I asked Jack [Kennedy] if he wanted to speak to this group. And as it turned out, had over 250 people come out too. I guess he said this is an important (unclear) (laughter) person. I guess that's what he said. Because we became friends right after that. And he made me treasurer of his congressional campaign back in 1948 or '49 [1949] somewhere around in there. No '58 [1958] (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) No, '58 [1958], it would be--$$--fifty-eight [1958], '58 [1958], '58 [1958]. And then he asked me to give him a dinner and I established a dinner with over a thousand people came to this dinner. And I guess he thought I had some, some background or had some knowledge of what to do. In fact I was looking at a letter from Congressman John McCormack who used to be the Speaker of the House. And he writes a letter to me: "Dear Herbert, banquet that you were chairman of was the best banquet I ever attended," and so forth, "and you are to be congratulated." And so after that it was just calling on me to take care of--to get him into the Negro community, which I did by--I was going--I went to twenty-two NAACP conventions. And Thurgood [Marshall] was there and I used to ask him on the legal side of it could he have--we'd invite lawyers. And have a lawyers' reception at each of these conventions and I invited Jack and his brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, to come. And they come because he had to know some black people. And that's how he got to know the black people throughout the country. So I got the key people who were NAACP workers, but they were key in their area. And got him--introduced him to those. And we moved from there. That's how we became friends. And it stuck.$$So when, when you were working on his campaign, you know as treasurer, when he asked you to be treasurer--$$Yeah.$$--that, that gave you a whole new level of contacts that maybe you didn't have before?$$Well no.$$Okay.$$Gave him contacts.$$Okay (laughter).$$Gave him contacts he didn't have before. I had the contacts. I was making the contacts for him.$$In the black community?$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$I got him--he used to always--his favorite expression was, "You people." I said, "Jack, you don't say that in a Negro crowd. (Unclear) say 'you people' anymore." And after a few more times of stuttering over (unclear) he stopped saying that. You people. You people are (unclear) (laughter) and I will never forget that--got him to stop saying that.$Sir, let's talk about the first time that you came to Martha's Vineyard [Massachusetts].$$Well, I was eleven years old when I first came here. Eleven--ten or eleven when I first came here. And we stayed up in a cottage over there where a woman rented rooms in what they call the Highlands. And my father [Herbert Tucker] brought us down here. My father was a great (laughter) number player--he used to play the numbers. And when he hit, you know what happened: we'd buy new shoes and we'd get new suit and we got a vacation. So he brought us down here. And that of course was when the numbers were illegal. And I can't remember we used to--I don't think she fed us, the woman. I think all she gave us was rooms. But we couldn't eat in every restaurant down here. At least they weren't--we weren't welcome, we'll put it that way. And I can't remember now exactly what restaurants were open. But there was, there were two or three on Circuit Avenue. I call that Circus Avenue (background noise).$$(OFF CAMERA DISCUSSION)$$So you were talking about, you know, coming here. And you said Circuit Avenue was called Circus Ave-$$I call it that. I don't know who else calls it (laughter)--I call it Circus Avenue. You see more weird people down there than not. But I don't--I can't recall whether we ate down there or not. There weren't a number of restaurants down there. I think we used to eat up at a place called Shearer Cottage [Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts], which has been around for a long time; founded by the Shearer family. Some of their more famous residents were--geez, I can't even think of his name. He was quite a writer, a singer around the time of W.E.B DuBois. Oh, what was his name? I can't think of his name. I don't know why I forget these things. I can't tell you. But there's quite a--well it was quite a nice place. Quite a nice place.$$So what was--what was the Martha's Vineyard of that time like? Back in the 1920s when you were a young boy?$$It was lovely place to have a vacation. We used to go to the beach every day; (unclear) didn't have any problem. If we had money we'd go to the Flying Horses I remember. But nobody looked at you peculiarly. It wasn't as lively as it is today--there weren't as many people. You know the population of this island even now is, in the wintertime the permanent population is under twelve thousand; and it grows to about a 130,000 in the summertime. So it's--it's hard to say.