Attorney Joe Jorth is affectionately called the “Black Mayor of Fort Myers” or the “Senator of Dunbar” by those in his community.
He’s humbled by the accolades but says he just wants to uplift the community that made him who he is today.
You’ve likely seen his billboards or heard his radio ads , but do you really know who Attorney Joe North is?
If you ask him he’ll say, “More than anything, I think I’m just a person who is born and raised here, who cares about this community”.
He grew up in Dunbar, just a stone’s throw from Dunbar High School. But because of school integration, he graduated from Cypress Lake High School, more than 10 miles away.
“The amount of time you spend on a school bus going and coming, those minutes, those hours, turn into days and weeks in terms of the amount of time that someone could be studying or spending time at home,” he said. “So looking back at it, my friends and I lost a lot of time because of having to be bused to schools.”
North briefly left Southwest Florida to go to college at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, on a track scholarship.
That’s where he realized he was meant to be a lawyer.
But he wasn’t making the grades he needed to get into law school with track taking up so much of his time, so he called his parents and asked if he could hang up his running shoes.
“My parents did not hesitate at all. They mortgaged the house, so that I could have my college paid for, but the dream of going on to law school, and that sacrifice my parents. It motivated me for the rest of my college, throughout law school, all the way 30 years later to this day.” North said.
After graduating from Florida State University, he came back home to be a personal injury lawyer and a lawyer for the community.
“I thought that I could do the most good there because I see so many times that people are taking advantage of after suffering injuries to no fault of their own.” he explained. “I want to make these families as whole as possible after suffering these traumatic events.”
Although those radio ads grab your attention and get stuck in your head, iIt’s his philanthropic work that speaks volumes.
However, you won’t hear him bragging about it.
North’s dedicated to helping Dunbar and the rest of the city that raised him. Whether that’s pouring thousands of dollars into great causes or donating his time and skills.
“I’ll do anything for this community because it’s really given more to me than I could ever give back,” he added.
And he’s loved back. So much so, that Dunbar High School’s stadium is named after him. And he got the key to the City of Fort Myers at his 30th-anniversary party in January. “It’s just such an honor to know that the city loves me as much as I love it. So with that key, I’m going to open as many doors as I can for other people in this city.”
So more people can give back too.
North is also the major sponsor for the beloved Dunbar Easter Parade. He says he’s sponsored the parade for more than five years.