Belford Vance Lawson, Jr.: Life of a Civil Rights Litigator
U. Md. L.J. Race, Religion, Gender & Class, 2012
37 Pages Posted: 30 May 2012 Last revised: 1 Aug 2017
Date Written: May 30, 2012
Organizations, like people, have identities. As complex organizations, among the variety of identities that African American fraternities and sororities have is that of civil rights organization. Chief among these organizations is Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity -- founded in 1906 at Cornell University. This article explores the life of a little-researched civil rights lawyer -- one of the first African Americans to argue a case before the US Supreme Court -- named Belford V. Lawson. Specifically, the article explores Lawson's personal, educational, and professional lives. With regard to the latter, much of this analysis is done through the lens of Lawson's fraternal involvement and how he utilized his fraternal network -- and a broader network of African American fraternity and sorority members who were attorneys -- to advance African American's desire for civil rights.
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