The honorable Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “we all have the ability to be great, because to be a great leader, all you have to do is serve.” The words and legacy of King lives and breathes through modern day leaders. Today, those leaders look like civil rights attorney and activist Benjamin Crump.
Crump is the oldest of nine and is from Luberton, North Carolina, a woody traditional southern area with a population of just barely 21,000 people. With little financial assistance from home, Crump managed to graduate from Florida State University with a bachelor’s in criminal justice and a law degree, all while holding a tight grip on a dream of opening a law firm he could call his own.
Crump is a Tallahassee attorney that has gained national recognition representing families in high civil rights profile cases. He is recognized as one of the top 100 national lawyers in the country, the 73rd president of the National Bar Association, and the CEO of Benjamin Crump Social Justice Institute.
Jan. 12, Crump visited Florida A&M University to speak at the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. convocation. Crump represents over 65,000 lawyers, judges, and law professionals across the nation. He represents the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Tupac Shakur, and many more.
On July 23, 2015, Crump became the 73rd President of the National Bar Association, which is the largest organization of lawyers of color in the world. He is also the president and co-founder of MyDad360, which is a mentoring program for fathers that’s been acknowledged by president Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.
According to the site Parks and Crump Attorneys at Law, Crump was elected as the Board Chairman of the Internationally Renowned Tallahassee Boys Choir, and he is the Past President of the National Florida State University Black Alumni Association. Crump is a Life Member and Chairman of the Grand Tribunal of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., life member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Urban League.
Crump’s mission believes in fighting to preserve the justice that minorities have achieved throughout the civil rights era, and going the extra mile to make sure justice is served for African Americans who do not get equal consideration in the courtrooms. When talking about constitutional rights and due process of the law, Crump wants to include Blacks into getting those equal rights.
Crump stands by a quote by Thurgood Marshall that states “history teaches that grave threats to liberty often came in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure,” and gave a different example of how Blacks and whites are treated in the courtrooms.
“You don’t have to take my word for it. You can go into any courtroom in America and see how they treat little Leroy and little Shaniqua. When they are charged with similar fact patterns than little Billy and little Becky. Little Leroy and Shaniqua are fingerprinted, handcuffed, and convicted,” Crump continued. “They’re never given the benefit of the doubt, benefit of consideration, or the benefit of possibility, but others get benefits of consideration.”
Crump is also known for his powerful speeches, and motivational advice. Chelsea Maloney, a junior theater student spoke highly of crump when being inspired.
“Attorney Benjamin Crump reminded me of why I’m here, and where I come from. He definitely gave me encouragement and motivated me to be able to move forward, not just for myself and my career, but for my university, and for the people who have come before me and after me,” Maloney said.
Crump’s words of encouragement inspired some students to see what they are up against in the world today, especially Black males.
“It’s time to wake up. You can’t sit around and say we’re tired of this and that. We can’t say what we’re going to do. It all sounds good, but I was always taught that actions speak louder than words,” said senior health science student Sharard Shabazz.
According to the site Parks and Crump Attorneys at Law, Crump was recognized as the National Trial Lawyers top 100 lawyers, Ebony Magazine Power 100 most influential African Americans, and bestowed such covenant as the NAACP Thurgood Marshall award, the SCLC Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Servant Leader award, the National Urban League’s Whitney Young award, and the Eleanor Roosevelt award.
He is the producer of the new six-part television series on A&E “Who killed Tupac?” “You the Jury reality show”, and BET’s “I am Trayvon Martin: A family’s fight for justice”.
“Who killed Tupac?” talks about the due process of the law, and the fight for equal justice. Crump’s goal is to not only tell the story of the life of Tupac Shakur, but what happened to him in the aftermath of his death, and how relevant it is today with Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, and many other cases where no one was held accountable for the deaths, even with video evidence.
Crump explains, “If we don’t save them, then they won’t be saved.”