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Home | Video Series | Passing The Baton | Passing the Baton | Groundbreaking African American Lawyer

Passing the Baton | Groundbreaking African American Lawyer

Season Two, Passing the Baton
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Senior U.S. District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan Jr. reflects on a long, groundbreaking legal career as part of our “Passing the Baton” series.

It has been an admittedly circuitous journey.

“Quite frankly, I never saw myself going to college,” Gaitan says of his much younger self.

“But I did clean up the office of a Black law firm after school. They take credit for my interest in law, and they may be right because I had never seen people of color doing what they did.”

Gaitan eventually became Southwestern Bell Telephone Co.’s first African American corporate lawyer in Kansas City. He later became a judge with the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, where he continues to serve.

Watch the attached video for more of his conversation with Andrea Ellis.

Sandy Woodson is an independent producer, most recently of “AIDS in KC,” which aired on Kansas City PBS. “Passing the Baton” is presented with support from Health Forward Foundation and
Husch Blackwell.

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