Judge James B. Sanderlin, a special man for special times, is honored for his courage, integrity and outstanding contributions to the political, social and legal life of the Pinellas County community, and the State of Florida.
Along with his love of the law has been his love of people and justice. In 1964, Judge Sanderlin was the attorney for five Clearwater families and one family from St. Petersburg who successfully sued the Pinellas County School Board over segregation. With this case, integration became a reality in Hillsborough and Sarasota Counties.
In 1972, he became the first black County Judge, and for years, the first black Circuit Court Judge. In 1985, the community rejoiced when Gov. Bob Graham appointed him to the Second District Court of Appeals.
The Sanderlin Center is Founded
In the summer of 1990, the St. Petersburg Catholic Diocese wanted to do something viable in the black community. A Board of Trustees was formed and began discussions - from the perspective of those who were solid, law-abiding citizens - on how to put together a Center in the black community. Many on the Board of Trustees were born and raised in St. Petersburg, and all had a deep sense of community. What developed from these discussions was the old Settlement House concept: people coming together to solve the problems within their own community.
We honor Judge Sanderlin because he improved our lives, and the lives of our children, through his diligence; he gave meaning through his compassion.
Since 1990, The Sanderlin Center mission statement has been refined, goals have been accomplished and new ones have been set. Education, family life, economic programs, cultural arts, health, and employment continue to be the focus of the Sanderlin Center programs, and we continue to honor the legacy of a legal giant, Judge James B. Sanderlin.
St Petersburg Together
We were recently featured on the St. Petersburg Together show. Watch the interview with our Community Outreach Specialist, Ronnell Montgomery and our Education Program Director, Dwayne Climes.