Charles Hamilton Houston


Always, throughout history, there are those that go before. Those that prepare the way. Some are even deliberate architects of ‘the path’. Charles Hamilton Houston is one such architect.

Charles Hamilton Houston (September 3, 1895 – April 22, 1950) was an African American lawyer, Dean of Howard University Law School and NAACP Litigation Director who helped play a role in dismantling the Jim Crow laws and helped train future Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall. He was educated at Amherst College, where he was valedictorian, and at Harvard Law School, where he graduated cum laude and was a member of the Harvard Law Review. Known as “The Man Who Killed Jim Crow.”[1], he played a role in nearly every civil rights case before the Supreme Court between 1930 and Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Houston’s plan to attack and defeat Jim Crow segregation by using the inequality of the “separate but equal” doctrine (from the Supreme Court’s Plessy v. Ferguson decision) as it pertained to public education in the United States was the masterstroke that brought about the landmark Brown decision.

The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute

Groundwork: Charles Hamilton Houston and the Struggle for Civil Rights by Genna Rae McNeil (Author), A. Leon Higginbotham (Foreword)

Emancipation: The Making of the Black Lawyer, 1844-1944 by Jr, J. Clay Smith (Author), Thurgood Marshall (Foreword)

The NAACP’s Legal Strategy against Segregated Education, 1925-1950, With a New Epilogue by the Author by Mark V. Tushnet

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