Georgia Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham captivated a crowd Monday at the University of Georgia with stories of himself as a litigator who likes a “nasty, protracted fight,” and a boy breaking windows who could have gone in another direction without the benefit of forgiveness.

Benham—who plans to retire in March—used his own brand of humor mixed with poetry in the annual Holmes-Hunter lecture. The event is named for the university’s first two African American graduates, the late Dr. Hamilton Holmes and journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault. Hunter-Gault made a surprise appearance to introduce Benham at the chapel on the old North Campus. The room was packed to the balconies. The speech was bookmarked by standing ovations.

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