Charles Hamilton Houston

civil-rights attorney
Born: 1895
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.

Houston, a powerful advocate of civil rights, helped gain ground for the movement by taking the fight to the court system. Houston earned his A.B. from Amherst College at age 19 and then began teaching English at Howard University. He joined the Army during World War I, serving in a segregated unit of the American Expeditionary Forces. In 1919 Houston entered Harvard Law School, where he served as the first Black editor of the Harvard Law Review. He later joined the faculty at Howard University and began preparing young Black lawyers, including Thurgood Marshall, to argue cases against discrimination. Houston himself argued a number of cases before the Supreme Court, serving as special counsel to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1935 to 1940.

Died: 1950