ITTA BENA, Miss.— Mississippi Valley State University will celebrate Black History Month with its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Black History Convocation.
The event will be hosted at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, in the Walter Roberts Auditorium in the H.G. Carpenter Building. The general public is invited to attend.
This year’s theme is “Heritage and Horizons: Embracing our Cultural History While Establishing Cultural Change.”
The keynote speaker is The Honorable Judge Latrice A. Westbrooks of the Mississippi Court of Appeals.
A native of Memphis, Westbrooks received her law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy Law School. Upon graduation, she moved to Mississippi and set a historical precedent by becoming the first African-American woman to serve as Assistant District Attorney in the State of Mississippi’s Second Circuit Court District.
Westbrooks later moved to Jackson, joining Attorney Isaac Byrd as a contributing member of the law firm Byrd and Associates where she successfully litigated various cases.
In December 2001, Westbrooks opened her law practice, servicing numerous clients in both criminal and civil matters. She successfully represented people charged with serious offenses by ensuring the protection of her client's constitutional rights, as guaranteed in both the United States and Mississippi Constitutions.
In 2013, Westbrooks joined the City of Jackson under the administrative leadership of the late Civil Rights icon, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, as the interim-Communications Director. She then joined the city attorney’s office as the legal counsel for the Jackson Police Department. After the passing of Mayor Lumumba in 2014, Westbrooks rejoined the private sector.
In January 2015, she was appointed to serve as the Municipal Judge for the City of Lexington and served in that capacity until her election to the Mississippi Court of Appeals Nov. 8, 2016.
Westbrooks is a member of the Mississippi Bar, the Magnolia Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the Capital Area Bar Association and the Metro Jackson Black Women Lawyers Association. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and a life member of the NAACP.
Last spring, Westbrooks was named Outstanding Woman Lawyer of 2017 by the Mississippi Women Lawyers’ Association.
Westbrooks is a resident of Lexington, Miss. and a member of Cade Chapel M.B. Church.