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Hubert Grimes

"Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way"

Hubert Grimes is a hard-working and successful judge well acquainted with hard work and success. Born in Bartow, Florida in 1953, he was raised in a family of seven, three brothers and two sisters, along with two hard-working parents. Before he was born, his parents moved from Alabama to Florida looking for better opportunities. As a young boy, he became accustomed to hard work, serving at his local church, helping his uncle with his lawn service, and worked in the citrus groves. This experience in his youth cemented his adult work ethic and taught him to not back down from hard work.

Grimes in his youth lived in segregated times, and different times he would see how that affected his life and upbringing.  He observed things such as the shift from calling people with more melanin than others “colored”, to “negro”, and then “black.”  Along with that, in 1969, his high school merged with another that had a predominately Caucasian student body, and with that came a feeling of disappointment as he came to the realization that he likely wouldn’t become Valedictorian of his class. The school was also making rule changes to avert him graduating with Honors, though it was poetic justice that he was inducted into the Polk County School Board Hall of Fame in 2018.

From there, with the conformation and support of many mentors, coaches, and teachers, Grimes attended Kentucky State University earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science in 1975. He then went to the University of Georgia Law School, where he received his Juris Doctorate in 1980, and lastly a master’s degree from International Seminary in 2004. During his career, he’s wore the titles of attorney, County and Circuit Court Judge, author, and educator, as well as Supreme Court Certified Mediator, Associate Pastor, and college president. Starting out, he worked with the Fellowship of Central Florida Legal Services, assisting those who hadn’t had the funds to enlist a lawyer.

After gaining experience, Grimes ran for office and was elected as the first black Judge in Volusia County. His responsibilities included “tackling issues of drug use, juvenile delinquency, family dysfunction through creating specialty courts and procedures to address these problems.” After dealing with these situations time and time again, he wrote a book published in 2010 called, “How to Keep Your Child from Going to Jail—Restoring Parental Authority and Developing Successful Youth”, a book that has impacted and reshaped the lives of so many youths. Many have come back to him to thank him for “being the difference maker in their lives.”

In addition to such, Grimes became a FAMU professor, spending his time equipping and preparing students “for successful passage of the bar exam, while also promoting ethical and professional behavior.” He pushed them to work hard and achieve greatness, in which they did as over his seven—year education career, over 400 former students successfully passed the Florida Bar exam. After finishing his courtroom career, Grimes then went to Bethune—Cookman University and launched the Center for Law and Social Justice. From there, he worked as the University Legal Counsel and finally served as Interim President, from 2017-19.

Though Grimes has achieved such success already, he’s currently writing his 3rd book, “Journey to Judgeship”, along with refining his skills as a court mediator. He also continues to work on becoming flourishing author, as it is a goal of his. When not working, Grimes spends time fishing, reading, and traveling, along with working out and spending time with his loved ones. He also serves in his community as a chairman for the Minority Elected Officials, a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, and a speaker across Central Florida. Throughout his career, he’s learned to either “Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way” and that faith and hard work are the keys to success. When his time comes, Hubert L. Grimes would want to want to be known as a man that “through faith in God and hard work, broke racial barriers in the judiciary, and tried to leave the world a better place than when he was born.”

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