Maryland Lawyers Who Helped Shape the Constitution: Father of Freedom - Charles Hamilton Houston
Maryland Bar Journal, Vol. 44, No. 4, pp. 4-11, July/August 2011
9 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2011
Date Written: July/August 2011
For most Americans, Charles Hamilton Houston is barely a footnote in history. Born in 1896, this Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Amherst College and Harvard educated African-American lawyer went on to win eight of nine cases in the United States Supreme Court. He designed the legal strategy for the historic Brown v. Board of Education 347 U.S. 483 (1954). He was the first African American to be elected to the Harvard Law Review and the first to earn the degree Doctor of Juridical Science Degree.
By 1950 he would be laid to rest, exhausted by his brutal multi-state law reform agenda that was the hallmark of his 25-year legal career. He would not live to see his efforts to eliminate racial discrimination from the face of the nation's law books completed. Along the way he would work with several legendary Maryland lawyers in cases that were the blueprint for dismantling the sinister practice known as "Jim Crow" that poisoned the nation's ideal of equal justice under law.
Keywords: Maryland, legal history, Charles Hamilton Houston, civil rights, Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483, Jim Crow, equal justice under law, Thurgood Marshall, Plessy v. Ferguson, Supreme Court, NAACP, racial discrimination
JEL Classification: K19, K39, K49, J71, J78
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation