ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) - An exhibit at the Athens-Limestone County Public Library tells the story of hometown hero Judge James Edwin Horton whose bravery had a ripple effect on civil rights.
The 'Outside the Protective Circle of Humanity' exhibit runs until March 1, with letters and items from Judge Horton's family that are relevant to the case, such as the pen with which he wrote a legendary order that ended his career.
"After an all white jury found a black young man guilty [of rape] and sentenced him to death, he overturned that verdict and ordered a new trial," explained Limestone County archivist Rebekah Davis. "It was political martyrdom."
An effort for permanent acknowledgement
"The Limestone County Bar Association wanted to start a fundraising effort to erect a bronze statue honoring Judge Horton at our Limestone County Courthouse," explained Athens spokesperson Holly Hollman. "The courthouse is the heart of the city of Athens."
It's also Judge Horton's hometown and where he wrote the order.
Organizers need $75,000 for the statue. Davis says they have already raised $39,000. She adds that the statue would do service to his legacy of doing what's right under extreme pressure, and allow a story to continue to be told.
"They need to know that things that happen in a small southern town can affect the world for decades to come, for centuries to come."