Helen Shores Lee

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Helen Shores Lee (born May 3, 1941 in Birmingham; died July 2, 2018 in Birmingham) was a clinical psychologist, attorney, and judge on the 10th Judicial Circuit of Alabama.

Helen is the daughter of Civil Rights attorney Arthur Shores and his wife, the former Theodora Warren. She grew up in a home across from First Congregational Church on Center Street in Smithfield that was frequently targeted by bombers.

After graduating from Parker High School, Helen earned her bachelor's degree in psychology at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1962 and a master's in clinical psychology at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California in 1971 and began working in the field, eventually serving as director of clinical outreach services for the Jefferson County Department of Health. She ran unsuccessfully for an at-large seat on the Birmingham City Council in the 1981 municipal election.

Lee, who had already begun working as a Magistrate for the City of Birmingham in law school, completed her juris doctorate at Cumberland School of Law in 1987 and joined her father's law firm, Shores & Lee, in 1988. She served on the Alabama State Ethics Commission from 1996 to 2000. Governor Don Seigelman appointed her to fill a vacancy on Jefferson County's Circuit Court Civil Division bench in January 2003.

Lee was unopposed in the 2010 Democratic primary and defeated Republican challenger Chuck Hunter in the general election. She retired from the bench in 2015.

Lee was named as one of the "Birmingham Freedom Sisters", along with Geraldine Bell, Leila Butler, Minnie Gaston, Mildred Johnson, Savannah Jones, and Lucinda Roby. She and her younger sister, Barbara wrote a family memoir, titled The Gentle Giant of Dynamite Hill: The Untold Story of Arthur Shores and His Family’s Fight for Civil Rights, which was published in 2012.

In addition to her work on the bench, Lee served on the board for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. She chaired the Advisory Council for the UAB Minority Health and Research Center and was a trustee of Leadership Birmingham, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Campfire Inc., and YWCA Central Alabama. She also served on the advisory board for the Cumberland School of Law and was honored as Samford University's "Alumnus of the Year" in 2014.

Helen and her husband, Robert M. Lee raised three children: Arthur Shores Lee, Robert M. Lee Jr, and Kiesha Jackson. Lee died in July 2018.

References

  • Garrison, Greg (July 2, 2018) "Retired Judge Helen Shores Lee, daughter of MLK's attorney, dies." The Birmingham News
  • Wright, Erica (July 2, 2018) "Judge Helen Shores Lee, daughter of famed civil rights attorney, dies at 77." The Birmingham Times