For a brief time the life and legacy of pioneering African American and Republican jurist James Dean returned to focus for Floridians in 2002 when Governor Jeb Bush posthumously reinstated the judge to the bench one hundred thirteen years after Governor Francis P. Fleming had removed him from his Monroe County office. Dean's reputation for integrity and probity found itself refurbished, although published accounts provided only sparse details to shed light on the years prior to Dean's election, on his legal or African Methodist Episcopal (AME) ministerial careers after the controversy, and, for that matter, on the circumstances of the removal itself. Sources that subsequently have become more easily available for use by historians fortunately permit a far-more-detailed and accurate portrayal of James Dean and, by extension, most-if not all-African Americans who influenced Florida's development in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Justice requires that the stories of these men and women, including Judge Dean's, be told to ensure a full understanding of the diversity of Florida's experience and to honor those neglected by history. As Governor Bush noted in restoring Dean to honorable standing, "Irrespective of how long it's taken to right this wrong, it is more than appropriate to do so."
Brown, Jr., Canter
"The Pioneer African American Jurist Who Almost Became a Bishop: Florida's Judge James Dean 1858-1914,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 87:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol87/iss1/4