Charles H. Houston (1895-1950)
He Paved A Legal Path For Civil Rights
Charles Hamilton Houston was born in Washington, D.C. He graduated with honors from Amherst College in 1915, then fought in a segregated unit of the Army in World War I. Afterwards, he studied law at Harvard University, graduating in the top of his class.
Houston joined the law school faculty at Howard University, where he taught his students that the law is a “powerful weapon” to advance the causes of the poor and victims of discrimination.
As general counsel to the NAACP from 1935 to 1940, Houston used the law to attack segregation. When he died in 1950, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, one of Houston’s students, said of his mentor, “We were just carrying his bags.”