This month, STU Law will feature some of our amazing students, faculty, and staff for #BlackHistoryMonth. Meet St. Thomas University College of Law alumnus Donté B. Grant (’19)!
Donté B. Grant, Esq. (’19)
Mr. Grant calls Atlanta, GA home. He earned his Juris Doctor and subsequent Master’s in Sports Administration at St. Thomas University. While at STU Law, he was Vice President of the Black Law Student’s Association, Governor of the Florida Bar YLD Law Student Division, and a member of Intercultural Human Rights Law Review.
What does Black excellence mean to you? Black Excellence means striving for greatness, working hard to achieve success by any means necessary, and living in our light, the light bestowed upon us by the ancestral greatness within us. We come from a land of great dynasties, great kingdoms, great Kings, and Queens. Black excellence is to exude the legacy of our ancestors in everything I do.
How do you embody Black excellence? To embody black excellence is to live life unapologetically black and proud of who you are and where and what you come from. To have success and recognize the importance of paying it forward to help the next person as well. To be resilient like those that came before you, to continue to never take no for an answer, and never give in to the narrative society tries to label us as.
Why do you think it’s important to celebrate Black History Month? It’s important because this country has spent hundreds of years not recognizing African Americans’ contributions and accomplishments in this country. We literally built this country for free. The history books we grew up studying rarely recognize the significance of our contributions in science, mathematics, product inventions and seldom properly include us. They only mention African Americans in the context of slaves. We are not slaves; we were enslaved people, there is a difference. But most importantly, Black History month is important to shed light on and celebrate the history of the African diaspora. Hopefully, celebrating Black History in America will spark individuals’ interest to research and learn the rich history and kingdoms we originated from.
Do you have someone in the Black community that you look up to? Atlanta is home, so I grew up in a household that made sure I understood my history and knew the contributions made by African American’s in this country. I look up to Huey P. Newton, Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall, Fannie Lou Hamer, and obviously the greatest leader this country has ever produced: Martin Luther King Jr. He is a hero of mine, my mother marched during the Civil Rights Era in South Georgia in the 60s as a pre-teen. She is also a hero of mine and the reason I am who I am.
According to the ABA, only 5% of lawyers are African American. What does being a black lawyer mean to you? Representation matters, I didn’t meet a lawyer that looked like me until I was in college, so I grew up jaded, thinking it was almost impossible for someone like me to become a lawyer. Being a black lawyer means the world to me. I understand how important it is to continue to pave the way and help others that look like me become a lawyer. I’m planning a non-profit whose mission will be to pay it forward and make sure an 8-year-old like me that wants to be a lawyer won’t have to wait until they’re in college to meet a lawyer that looks like them and they can be exposed to the legal field at a young age.
Parting thoughts? Thank you to the current students and faculty that nominated me to be featured. I really appreciate it. St. Thomas Law gave me an opportunity to accomplish a lifelong dream of mine and become an attorney; for that I am forever grateful.