DLA’s history is rich and its members have been the catalysts for tremendous change, both locally and nationally, since its inception.
- In 1985, DeKalb County had only one full-time African American judge, Judge Michael Hancock, who became DLA’s first president. His portrait now hangs proudly inside the DeKalb County Courthouse.
- Our third president, Mereda Davis Johnson became the first African-American female judge in DeKalb County when she was appointed to sit as a Magistrate Judge. She continues to lead DeKalb County in her capacity as DeKalb County Commissioner.
- Judge Gregory Adams is a past-president of DLA and a former Chief Judge of the DeKalb County Juvenile Court, which now bears his name, the Gregory A. Adams Juvenile Justice Center.
- Past-president Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming was the first African-American Solicitor General and District Attorney of DeKalb County. In 2010, when Ms. Fleming was appointed by President Barack Obama as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 4 Regional Administrator, she became the first African American to hold the position.
- Hank Johnson, past-president of DLA, currently serves our community in his capacity as Congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Undoubtedly, the impact of DLA’s legacy of service and excellence in the community continues to be felt.
As we continue to build upon DLA’s solid foundation and reach for new heights, we are moved by the prospects. We invite you to support DLA by becoming a member of our organization, by actively participating in our events, and by simply spreading the word about what we are doing. We call on all leaders in DeKalb, young and seasoned, to join us in our work to inspire leadership, collaboration, compassion, activism, and even struggle for the good of our community. I look forward to meeting all of the forward-thinking pioneers who helped build this DeKalb and all the new warriors that will continue the legacy.
In service to DeKalb Lawyers Association,
Tracee R. Benzo
President, DeKalb Lawyers Association (DLA)