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Wed, 07.26.1916

Spottswood Robinson III, Lawyer, and Judge born

Spottswwod Robinson III

*Spottswood Robinson was born on this date in 1916.  He was a Black lawyer, judge, and civil rights, activist.    

Spottswood William Robinson, III, was from Richmond, Virginia.   As a young man, he had two heroes, his father and paternal grandfather; he idolized his grandfather because of his fearlessness and accomplishments. Spottswood W. Robinson, Sr. was born into slavery and systematically robbed of educational and economic opportunity, yet he became a successful businessman.  

Young Robinson graduated from Virginia Union University with honors in 1937 and entered Howard Law School, graduating first in his class in 1939. Like Thurgood Marshall, he "credited the law school with instilling social responsibility. ’One of the things drilled into my head was ... "This legal education that you're getting is not just for you; it was for everybody. So, when you leave here, you want to put it to good use."  Robinson was a faculty member of the Howard University School of Law from his graduation in 1939 until 1947.  Robinson was one of the core attorneys of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund from 1948 to 1960. Through the NAACP, LDF Robinson worked on important civil rights cases, including Davis v. Prince Edward Co. School BoardBrown v. Board of Education, and Chance v. Lambeth.  From 1960-64 Spottswood Robinson became Dean of the Howard University School of Law.

He then served as the United States Commission on Civil Rights member from 1961 to 1963.  In 1964, Robinson was the first Black to be appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. In 1966, Judge Robinson became President Johnson's first Black appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. On May 7, 1981, Judge Robinson became the first Black to serve as Chief Judge of the court; he took senior status in 1989 and later retired. Spottswood Robinson died in 1998.  

To Become a Lawyer

To become a Political Scientist

To become a Judge

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