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Joseph Wilson and David Addams

a central figure in the civil rights and human rights movement in the United States as an activist, attorney, and scholar. Born in New York City in 1940, William Haywood Burns helped integrate the swimming pool in Peekskill, New York, at fifteen years of age and was a leader in the struggle for human rights and civil rights over the next four decades. He graduated from Harvard College in 1962. As a law student at Yale University, he participated in the 1964 Freedom Summer in Mississippi. He already had authored The Voices of Negro Protest (1963), which critiqued the leadership and mass character of the civil rights movement, and throughout his career he contributed chapters to other books. He was assistant counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in the late 1960s. Later he served as general counsel to Martin Luther King Jr.'s ...

Article

William Henry Hastie's father, a pension clerk, and his mother, a teacher, taught him to oppose racial discrimination. The family moved from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Hastie was born, to Washington, D.C., in 1916. Hastie was valedictorian at Dunbar High School, one of the leading African American secondary schools in the country. He was senior class president at Amherst College in 1925, and graduated as valedictorian again. After teaching for two years, he returned to school and earned a law degree from Harvard University in 1930.

Hastie practiced law in Washington with his father, fighting university segregation. At night, he taught at Howard University Law School. Among his students, many of whom played important roles in the Civil Rights Movement, was Thurgood Marshall, who became the first African American justice on the United States Supreme Court. From 1933 to 1937 Hastie was assistant ...

Article

Peter Wallenstein

civil rights attorney, law school professor, and federal judge, was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of Roberta Childs, a teacher, and William Henry Hastie, a clerk in the U.S. Pension Office (now the Veterans Administration). He was a superb student and athlete. His father's transfer to Washington, D.C., in 1916 permitted Hastie to attend the nation's best black secondary school, the Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, from which he graduated as valedictorian in 1921. He attended Amherst College, where he majored in mathematics and graduated in 1925, valedictorian, Phi Beta Kappa, and magna cum laude. After teaching for two years in Bordentown, New Jersey, he studied law at Harvard University, where one instructor adopted the custom of saying after asking a question of the class, “Mr. Hastie, give them the answer” (Ware, 30). He worked on the Law Review and earned an ...

Article

Carolyn Wedin

legal educator, civil rights advocate, judge, and governor. William Henry Hastie was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, the only child of a middle-class, college-educated black couple, Roberta Childs and William Henry Hastie, who moved to Washington, D.C., to give their son a better education. There the young Hastie graduated from Dunbar High School in 1921 and entered Amherst College in Massachusetts, where he ran track and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude in 1925.

Giving up opportunities to study at Oxford University or the University of Paris, Hastie instead taught for two years at the New Jersey Manual Training and Industrial School for Colored Youth. In 1927 he continued his education at Harvard Law School, studying under the future Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter and earning his bachelor of laws (LLB) degree in 1930 Hastie moved to Washington D C and both worked ...

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Andra Medea

When Anita Hill stood before the Senate committee and testified that she had been sexually harassed by Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, she initially expected to be believed. As a lawyer, she expected to be questioned. She did not, however, expect to be virulently attacked, to trigger national debates, and finally to emerge as a leading voice on standing up to the abuse of power. In short, she expected to have her say, not to change the nation.

Anita Hill was born on her parents’ farm near Lone Tree, Oklahoma. When she was young, the house did not have running water, and a telephone was not installed until she was a teenager. She was the youngest of thirteen children of Albert and Irma Hill who were hardworking religious people Uneducated themselves they believed education was the way for their children to get ahead Anita attended public schools ...

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Mary Krane Derr

lawyer and educator, was born in rural Lone Tree, Okmulgee County, eastern Oklahoma, near Tulsa. Known as Faye to family and friends, she was the great-granddaughter of slaves and the youngest of thirteen children born to farmers Albert and Erma Hill. Faye grew up in the Baptist Church and remained within that congregation. An excellent student and avid reader, she attended Eram Grade School and in 1973 became the fourth child from her family to be selected as valedictorian at the local Morris High School.

In 1977 Hill earned her B.S. in psychology with honors from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. On a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) scholarship, she left Oklahoma for the vastly different environment of Yale University Law School, where many classmates had enjoyed considerable financial and social advantages from birth. Graduating with her J.D. in 1980 Hill felt no ...

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Leyla Keough

Anita Hill was born in Morris, Oklahoma, to Irma Hill and Albert Hill. She was valedictorian of her high school class. She completed a B.S. degree in psychology at Oklahoma State in 1977 and was one of 11 black students out of 160 graduates of Yale Law School in 1980. Her first position as a lawyer was in 1981 at Ward, Harkrader and Ross, a Washington, D.C., firm. Later that year she became an assistant to Clarence Thomas, who was head of the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. In 1982 she joined him when he became chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

In 1983 Hill left her job with the EEOC to join the faculty of Oral Roberts University as a law professor. In 1986 she accepted a position at the University of Oklahoma where she received ...

Article

Genna Rae McNeil

lawyer and professor, was born in the District of Columbia, the son of William LePre Houston, a lawyer, and Mary Ethel Hamilton, a hairdresser and former schoolteacher. Houston graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Amherst College in 1915. After a year of teaching English at Howard University in Washington, D.C., he served during World War I as a second lieutenant in the 351st Field Artillery of the American Expeditionary Forces. Having experienced racial discrimination while serving his country, Houston “made up [his] mind that [he] would never get caught … without knowing … [his] rights, that [he] would study law and use [his] time fighting for men who could not strike back.” He entered Harvard Law School in 1919, where he became the first African American elected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review, and in 1922 he earned an LLB cum laude ...

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Kate Tuttle

At Charles Hamilton Houston's 1950 memorial service, his cousin, federal judge William H. Hastie, eulogized him as “the Moses of our journey.” Referring to the hard-won victory against segregation, Houston's protégé and successor as National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chief counsel, Thurgood Marshall, described him as “the engineer of it all.” In his work at both the NAACP and at Howard University Law School, which, according to historian Richard Kluger, Houston made into “a living laboratory where civil-rights law was invented,” Houston was one of the most influential American lawyers of the twentieth century.

Houston was born in Washington, D.C., the only child of William and Mary Houston, and was raised in an atmosphere of racial and family pride. He graduated from the M Street School, the most academically rigorous black high school in the nation, and in 1911 entered ...

Article

Thomas E. Carney

attorney and civil rights activist. Born in Washington, D.C., Charles Hamilton Houston was the son of Mary Hamilton Houston and William LePre Houston, an attorney in Washington. The young Houston graduated from M Street High School and received his bachelor's degree in 1915 from Amherst College, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. For two years after graduating he taught English at Howard University, and in 1917 he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was sent to Europe but arrived just months before the armistice that ended World War I.

Houston left the military in 1918 and thereafter applied and was admitted to Harvard Law School. Houston was an outstanding student. He studied under Professor (later U.S. Supreme Court Justice) Felix Frankfurter and became the first African American editor of the Harvard Law Review. He received his bachelor of law degree in 1922 and ...

Article

jurist, historian, and litterateur, was born in the city of Sabta (present-day Ceuta) to an Arab family with origins in the Yemen. ‘Iyad's training in the various branches of Islamic learning was remarkably thorough. He undertook his early education in Sabta at the hand of several scholars, including the jurist ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Isa and the faqih ‘Ali Abu Ishaq al-Fasi. He then traveled to al-Andalus, and there exists notice that he studied there with no fewer than a hundred scholars, among them several leading figures of the age, including the traditionist Abu ‘Ali al-Sadafi of Murcia (d. 1120/21), the jurist Abu al-Walid ibn Rushd of Cordoba (d. 1126), and the religious scholar and jurist Abu Bakr ibn al-‘Arabi of Seville (d. 1148).

Unlike many of his fellow North Africans it appears that Iyad never made the journey to ...

Article

Benjamin R. Justesen

lawyer, public official, legislator, and law school dean, was the youngest son of five children born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to Matthew N. Leary, a successful saddler and a staunch abolitionist and philanthropist, and Julia A. Memorell (Menriel). Matthew Leary helped local slaves buy their freedom and often educated them, despite legal prohibitions on the practice. According to the 1850 federal census, he personally owned three slaves, though these were held for benevolent reasons.

John Leary's birth year is not certain; the 1850 census records his age as ten, although later reports indicate that he was born as late as 1849 His ethnic heritage was a blend of European Native American and African American lineage His mother a native of France migrated as a child to North Carolina from the Bahamas with her French mother His father whose family name had been shortened from ...

Article

Matthew J. Smalarz

was born in Merced, California. Originally from Arkansas and Mississippi, his parents, Charles and Willie Mae Ogletree, migrated to central California and worked as seasonal workers in the San Joaquin Valley's cotton, almond, and peach fields in the 1950s and 1960s. Ogletree and his family lived in impoverished circumstances in South Merced and relied on welfare assistance programs. Economic and residential segregation existed within Merced's town boundaries, with South Merced containing poor African American and Chicano households and North Merced comprising affluent, white residents, the town's commercial enterprises, and its educational entities. Although his parents lacked educational opportunities in the Jim Crow South in the 1930s and 1940s and socioeconomic mobility in California in the 1950s, they still encouraged Ogletree and his siblings to strive for educational advancement amid the structural obstacles surrounding them.

Performing well academically in high school Ogletree applied and gained admission to Stanford University just as ...

Article

Egyptian jurist, law professor, judge, and cabinet minister, was born in Alexandria on 11 August 1895. He was also known as an educationalist, a champion of the rule of law, a proponent of national independence and Arab solidarity, a leading proponent of the idea that Islam is the paramount characteristic of Arab and Egyptian civilization, and a proponent of the notion that Islam should be a guide for organizing laws and public institutions in the Arab world. His one daughter was Nadia al-Sanhuri (1935– ). Of modest background, he attended a traditional Islamic elementary school and a state secondary school operated by an Islamic foundation in Alexandria. In 1917 he graduated first in his class at the Sultanic Law School in Cairo (which became in 1925 the Law Faculty of King Fuʾad I University the Egyptian University He completed a doctorate in juridical sciences and a second doctorate ...