Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee Founders Hank & Rose Sanders

Early Years and Legal Partnership

Hank and Rose were best friends at Harvard Law School in the turbulent 60’s. They shared a dream of fighting against racism and other injustices. In 1968, they found themselves arrested in Aretha Franklin’s father's church in Detroit, Michigan, charged with attempted murder. However, they were released the next day and cleared of all charges by Judge George Crockett, Jr. This incident only strengthened their bond and commitment to justice.

Three years later, after a disillusioning year in Africa, they returned to the South and worked as legal services attorneys in Huntsville, Alabama. Hank then moved to Selma, Alabama to start a law practice, and Rose joined him later. Together with J.L. Chestnut, Jr., they formed Chestnut, Sanders & Sanders, which became the largest African American law firm in Alabama.

Achievements and Community Impact

In the early 70’s, Rose became the first African American female judge in Alabama, while Hank was the first African American State Senator from the Alabama Black Belt since Reconstruction. They, along with J.L., took on challenging legal cases and established significant community institutions like the Alabama Black Lawyers Associations and The National Voting Rights Museum.

Hank served in the Alabama Senate for over 27 years, with Rose involved in every campaign. When Hank resigned in 2010, they had been married for 41 years, with a large family of biological, foster, and other children who shared their home.

They have been instrumental in events like The Bridge Crossing Jubilee and in legal victories such as the Black Farmers Cases. Currently, they are advocating for the inclusion of African American history in public schools, continuing their lifelong partnership in marriage and their shared struggle for justice.

Become a Vendor

Get your opportunity to showcase and sell your items among thousands of people.