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DC's Civil Rights Champions: Charles Hamilton Houston


This Black History Month, the DC Bar Foundation is recognizing three Black civil rights champions in DC whose work may not be widely known.


Today, we feature Charles Hamilton Houston.


Charles Hamilton Houston (1895-1950) was a pioneering African-American civil rights lawyer, Dean of Howard University Law School, and the NAACP’s first Litigation Director. Houston was the first African-American to serve on the Harvard Law Review editorial board.


Many recognize Houston as the architect of ending the “separate but equal” doctrine accepted by the US Supreme Court in 1896 in Plessy v. Ferguson. Houston played a significant role in dismantling Jim Crow laws by challenging segregation in schools and racial housing covenants.


He mentored a generation of young Black attorneys, including Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court Justice.


You can learn more about Mr. Houston's personal and professional life in his profile on the NAACP's website.

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