Who Was Virgil Hawkins?

Who Was Virgil Hawkins?

Learn about Leesburg, Florida's civil rights pioneer

Virgil Hawkins sought to defend the poor and uneducated-those who normally had no access to good lawyers or the benefit of the doubt.

In the early 1900s, Florida had the highest rate of lynching in the United States. Virgil Hawkins knew he needed to change this. As a black child in Florida, he had no access to higher education. But he vowed he would become a lawyer and help those in need.

Hawkins campaigned for years to attend the then-segregated University of Florida. Ultimately, he agreed to an exchange, allowing other black students to get the equal education he would never have. After nine years of fighting, he withdrew his application, and the University of Florida desegregated.

Work with us to honor Virgil Hawkins' memory by making a tax-deductible donation to our non-profit organization in Leesburg, FL.

Honoring Virgil Hawkins' sacrifice

Today, the VIRGIL HAWKINS HISTORICAL SOCIETY INC. of Leesburg, Florida honors his contribution to desegregation in state schools. With the help of your generous donations, we will continue to share Virgil Hawkins' story. His perseverance and dedication to the cause opened university doors for black students statewide.

Call 813-465-1661 today to learn more about our historical society.