On Sept 3rd we celebrate the life of Black lawyer, former Dean of Howard university and 1st litigation director for the NAACP, Charles Hamilton Houston. Growing up in DC Hamilton attended segregated schools and after experiencing racism in the US army during WW 1 he devoted his life to end racial segregation.

Joining his fathers practice he became a lawyer and was eventually recruited by Mordecai Johnson, the 1st Black dean of Howard university and from 1929 to 1935 he developed the campus particularly the law school into a breeding ground for African American lawyers. Among the thousands he taught and mentored one of his proudest mentees was the great Thurgood Marshall.

In 1935 he left Howard to join the NAACP where he was apart of every major civil rights case from then up until after his death in 1950. He fought out against all white juries and got a black man out of the electric chair and challenged the “seperate but equal” theory forcing southerners to either integrate or build facilities and institutions for blacks if they really believed in “Seperate but equal”

Sadly Houston died of a heart attack in 1950 at age 54. 4 years after his death his fight against segregation was finally won with the Brown v. Board of education ruling ending segregation in the US.




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