As Kendrick Johnson’s family continues to battle for justice in the death of their 17-year-old 3-sport Lowndes High School sophomore son, who, by all accounts was not only a gifted sportsman, but a devoted son and brother, it is the attorney, Albany-based Chevene “C.B.” King whose burden is perhaps tantamount. Carrying the torch of his father’s stunning shadow, he is now saddled with one of the most historically-relevant cases in this generation – yes – and also the century’s. No doubt this case will be heralded as one seeded with the same, if not more strikingly relevant, themes of Civil Rights/Human Rights history. This is a universal case, which has gained traction in the state, the nation and now internationally.
It would be sadly remiss to overlook the man whose influence arguably defined the Civil Rights Movement, following the Albany Movement which preceded it. C.B. King, was an indomitable, formidable courtroom force of unparalleled comparison. His loquacious courtroom persona was such that he was feared and dreaded – sending clerks of courts running to the tomes of civil procedure – and dictionaries – to decipher what he was saying.
His education was stellar, and his impact on generations to come would pervade his personal legend. Students from Harvard, Columbia would vie for space as his intern, to sit at his ankles and hang on his every word.
This man was a giant.
As his son takes up the cudgel his father left behind, I can only imagine what this must be like for him, personally – and professionally.
Chevene Bowers King died in 1988 following a lengthy illness. The C. B. King United States Courthouse in Albany, Georgia was renamed in his honor in 2000. It is the first Federal Courthouse in the former Jim Crow South to be named for a black man and he is the fourth to receive this honor within the entire United States, the other three being the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes.