Funding the Education of the Next Generation of African American Leaders in Dallas
Supporting Pro Bono Legal Service Organizations Working in Our Community
In 1896, the year of the infamous decision of Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), J.L. Turner, Sr. began to practice law in the City of Dallas. Mr. Turner was treated with utterly disrespect during that period, as you can well imagine.
Mr. Turner, a native of Dallas, was born on July 3, 1869, on a farm near Inwood Road in far North Dallas. After Mr. Turner graduated from Kent Law School in Chicago, Illinois, he began practicing law in Dallas, Texas. Although faced with obstacles due solely to his race, Mr. Turner became known for his expertise in the fields of probate and real estate law. His cases were placed at the end of the docket. He was called “boy” and other disrespectful names by judges and lawyers.
Mr. Turner, because of his race could not become a member in the white legal organizations of the private bar. However, the actions by members of the majority bar and the actions of the judges did not dissuade Mr. Turner. He practiced law in Dallas until his death in 1951.
The J.L. Turner Legal Association Foundation was named in honor of Mr. Turner, and the name of the Foundation is now inscribed on the walls of the Belo Mansion, home of the Dallas Bar Association.
J. L. Turner Legal Association
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