ORLANDO — Florida attorney and former Circuit Court Judge Belvin
Perry Jr. was exposed to the law at an early age.
His dad, the late Belvin Perry Sr., served as one of Orlando’s
first two African-American police officers when he was hired on Jan.
3, 1951, according to Perry Sr.'s obituary
in the Orlando Sentinel.
“I went with him when he testified, and I became interested in
the law,” Perry Jr. told the Florida Record. “At the time
when I was growing up, there were two professions — doctor or
lawyer. When I took analytical chemistry in the 12th grade, it pushed
me toward the law.”
Perry has made history himself, some of which he shared during his
keynote speech at the Florida A&M University Black History Month
convocation on Feb. 10, according to a report
by the Tallahassee Democrat. During his speech, he called on students
to make contributions, focus on education, and understand history.
“I explained the reasons why we need black history, why you need
to learn from others’ mistakes, and to remind them of the struggles
and sacrifices that were made to be where we are today,” Perry, a
university board trustee, said.
“There will be challenges. Remember how dark things were —
slavery and segregation. Use the tools we have to overcome them.
History shows us we have the DNA in us to overcome any challenge,”
Perry expects new hurdles with President Trump at the reins.
“With the new president, there will be new challenges,” Perry
said. “After one month, we don’t know if he will be a great
president or not. He is off to a rocky start. We cannot control him,
but we can control how we deal with it. You have to have the
intestinal fortitude to deal with it.”
The best way to deal with challenges, Perry said, is to identify
the problem and analyze how to attack it. He suggested looking at all
angles, encouraging people to go after it by going around it, over it
or above it.
“In life, we all face challenges,” he said. “The question is
how you deal with it. You can feel sorry for yourself and do nothing,
or overcome. Look at history to see what we have overcome.
“… It’s not easy. It may be difficult. Use history as a road
map and inspiration.”
According to the Tallahassee Democrat report,
Perry was the first African-American to be elected to the circuit
bench of the 9th Circuit in Florida without first being appointed. An
attorney at Morgan & Morgan, P.A., in Orlando, Perry also was the
first African-American chair of the Florida Conference of Circuit
Court Judges. He spent 18 of his 25 years on the bench as chief judge
of Orange and Osceola counties.
In 1977, according to his law-firm profile page,
Perry began his legal career with the Office of the State Attorney,
serving as a trial lawyer. He concluded his service there with the
prosecutor’s office as chief assistant state attorney in 1989. He
earned a Bachelor of Science in history in 1972 from Tuskegee
University and a Master of Education in student personnel services in
Perry studied law at Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas
Southern University, receiving his degree in 1977, the Tallahassee