On Chess, Hank and Rose at 30

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 14, 2002

The law firm of Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders, Pettaway, Campbell and Albright celebrates its 30th anniversary this weekend.

Its founding partners – J.L. Chestnut, and the husband-wife team of Hank and Rose Sanders – are justly proud of the firm’s long history and its impact on this community and, indeed, on this country.

Over the years the firm has championed cases that moved this city to a more equitable form of government, challenged corporations and government agencies in regard to race and gender discrimination, and opposed police brutality.

Email newsletter signup

Most recently, the firm has taken up the cause of black farmers, many of whom have had their land and their homes taken from them as a direct result of discriminatory policies at U.S. Department of Agriculture. That class-action lawsuit has resulted in the payment of nearly $1 billion to the victims of that abuse.

J.L. Chestnut is an outspoken and often controversial figure. He is also acknowledged by his peers as a courtroom lawyer of the first rank, and has often argued cases before courtrooms packed with people who have come solely to hear his closing arguments.

And while he is quick to take issue with those he disagrees with, Chess, as he is known to his friends, has been equally forthcoming over the years about his own personal foibles. We applaud him for having the courage to rise above those struggles and for being willing to openly share his story.

We do not always agree with Chess’ stand on the issues, but we welcome his informed and reasoned debate on those issues.

Hank Sanders has served as this area’s state senator for 20 years, in addition to his work with the firm. He chairs the Finance and Taxation Education Fund and the Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability Rules committees in the Alabama Senate.

He is the rock of the Black Belt’s legislative team and has worked diligently over the years to improve the well being of its citizens in countless ways.

And then there is Faya Rose Toure, as she is now called. She is a committed fighter and a worthy opponent. When she throws her considerable talents behind a project or cause, she makes things happen. The National Voting Rights Museum and numerous other organizations in this community are a direct result of her relentless efforts.

To the members of the firm on the occasion of its 30th anniversary, we applaud your dedication.