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Tue, 09.03.1895

Charles H. Houston, Lawyer born

Charles H. Houston

*This date marks the birth of Charles Houston in 1895. He was one of the most important Black lawyers of the twentieth century.

Charles Hamilton Houston was born in Washington, D. C., into a family of jurisprudence. Houston's father was a graduate of Howard University's law school. In 1911, after completing M street High (later Dunbar H. S.), he entered Amherst College.  In 1915 he graduated from Howard University as valedictorian and Phi Beta Kappa and returned to teach there like his father. Two years later he enlisted in the armed forces and served in World War I. After discharge in 1919, he became the first Black editor of the Harvard law review, where he received his LL. B in 1922 cum laude.

Houston served as special counsel to the NAACP, becoming its first full-time, paid counsel while teaching at Howard. He was a preeminent anti-discrimination lawyer whose efforts laid the legal groundwork for the Brown v. Board of Education ruling won by his protégé Thurgood Marshall. Charles Hamilton Houston died in 1950.

Groundwork: Charles Hamilton Houston and the Struggle for Civil Rights
by Genna Rae McNeil
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright 1983

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