Gartin Building Courtroom with the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi

Justice Graves honored by National Conference of Black Mayors

April 17, 2006

The National Conference of Black Mayors has honored Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James E. Graves Jr. as this year’s recipient of its President’s Award.

Inglewood, Calif., Mayor Roosevelt F. Dorn, president of the National Conference of Black Mayors, said in a letter to Justice Graves, “We recognize you for your strong commitment to equal justice, pioneering efforts in creating Mississippi’s first state-of-the-art high tech courtroom and your continuous efforts to save our youth. It is our hope that you will continue to use your position to see that children, minorities and the poor receive justice throughout the state of Mississippi and the United States.”

The President’s Award will be presented at a luncheon at noon on April 28, 2006, during the 32nd Annual National Conference of Black Mayors Convention in Memphis, Tenn.

Justice Graves said, “I am deeply honored that an organization as large and as significant as the National Conference of Black Mayors has determined that I am a worthy recipient of the President’s Award. The men and women who serve as mayors across the country are the leaders who are on the front lines and in the trenches every day working for the people, and I really appreciate that they feel that I, in some way, have contributed to the cause of justice for the citizens of the state of Mississippi.”

Justice Graves has been a member of the Mississippi Supreme Court since Nov. 1, 2001. He previously served for 10 years as a circuit court judge for the 7th Circuit District.

Justice Graves is committed to teach, motivate and inspire young people. He is a frequent speaker to student groups. He has addressed national education conferences and traveled abroad to promote civics education and democracy. Whether he’s interacting with elementary students or university undergraduates, he emphasizes the key role of education in opening a world of possibilities.

He has taught special programs at Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School and Syracuse University School of Law. He has served as an adjunct professor at Jackson State University, Tougaloo College and Millsaps College.

Justice Graves received a B.A. degree in sociology from Millsaps College. He received his law degree from Syracuse University College of Law. He also holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

He worked as a staff attorney at Central Mississippi Legal Services and as a special assistant attorney general. He headed the Human Services Division of the attorney general's office, where he served as chief legal counsel to the Mississippi Department of Human Services. He later was director of the Division of Child Support Enforcement of the Mississippi Department of Human Services.