Alachua County commissioners approve courthouse plans in honor of Judge Stephen Mickle

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 5:17 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Alachua County commissioners are paying $12,500 to rename the criminal courthouse to honor the late Judge Stephen Mickle. He was the first Black county, circuit and district court judge in Alachua County before being the first Black Chief Justice for the Northern District of Florida. Mickle died at 76 from cancer in January of this year.

“Judge Mickle was the trailblazer to bring about change,” said Alachua County Commission Chair, Ken Cornell.

Commissioners are tasked with approving all changes made to the courthouse. Mickle’s surviving family has preliminary plans for modifications up to the third floor of the courthouse. The majority of the estimated cost, currently budgeted at $276,000, will be privately donated.

“I do think that a display of some sort to honor his life and his legacy is appropriate given that the fundraising comes from the community and the family,” said County Commissioners, Anna Prizzia.

RELATED STORY: Remembering a pioneer in the African American community; “Stephan had a lot of firsts”

Modifications start with the sign of Mickle’s name placed high on the outside of the building. What comes next is meant to be more than just signage and rather, a source of information. County commissioners approved an educational display for the first floor of the courthouse that will detail Mickle’s life and accomplishments. The county will also match up to $50,000 in community fundraising for the display.

“My goal and intent that we tell the larger story and what you said that we tell the larger story and that we insert Judge Mickle’s life and accomplishments, many of his firsts into that story,” added Cornell. “And the process of what we’re doing is to honor Judge Mickle but it’s to tell the story of his life so that we create the change that we all want.”

The county is covering services for the debut event that is scheduled for January of next year.

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