Who is George Edgecomb?
Honoring the first African-American county judge in Hillsborough County, Florida!
The Hillsborough County Courthouse bears the name of George Edgecomb, the first African-American county judge in Hillsborough County, Florida. Though he died too young – at the early age of 34 – Judge Edgecomb’s lifetime accomplishments show that he is well worthy of gracing our courthouse.
Born in 1942 in Tampa, Florida, the future Judge Edgecomb was raised by a single mother in government housing. While his childhood circumstances were modest and likely luxury-free, he didn’t let that stop him. Throughout his short but distinguished life, he rose above financial and cultural obstacles in his rise to excellence. He served as student body president at Middleton High School before graduating there with honors. He continued his education at Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he served as student body president during his junior and senior years and received the Young Man of the Year award. Four years later, in 1968, he earned his law degree at Howard University Law School – where he served as Chief Justice of the Sigma Delta Legal Fraternity. While in law school, he worked for a law firm in Washington, D.C.
After law school, at the age of 26, Mr. Edgecomb practiced law in Tampa with respected attorney Delano Stewart. Over the next eight years, he served in his community as President of the Greater Tampa Urban League Board of Directors, a steward at Mt. Sinai A.M.E. Church, Man of the Year of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and Outstanding Citizen of Frontiers of America.
During his short career, Judge Edgecomb set an example as a dedicated professional and blazed trails as an African-American. He became the first African-American Assistant County Solicitor as well as the first African-American Assistant State Attorney, later becoming Chief of the Felony Division of the state attorney’s office. On August 13, 1973, Governor Reuben Askew appointed Judge Edgecomb as the first African-American county judge for Hillsborough County. He was just 31 years old when he took the bench, and served for just three years before his death in 1976.
Judge Edgecomb is held in honorable remembrance not only as the name on the Hillsborough County Courthouse, but as the inspiration for the George Edgecomb Bar Association, which promotes and recognizes African- Americans within the legal profession and judiciary.
At Wagner, McLaughlin & Whittemore, we honor the memory of George Edgecomb and others like him who remind us how to overcome obstacles, serve with dedication, and strive for excellence in all that we do.