GCP in the News: The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice

We were delighted to recently learn that a GCP post, “How Do We Talk to Our Children About Newtown?” has been featured on The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School website, which can be found here. The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice (CHHIRJ), established in 2005 by Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree, is a hub for scholarship, strategy, socially concerned legal education, and open, engaging and original public forums on matters central to civil rights in the 21st century.

The Institute honors and continues the work of Charles Hamilton Houston, one of the great civil rights lawyers of the twentieth century. If you and your sons aren’t familiar with Houston, you should become so, as he is an important and inspirational figure in American history. Houston, whose father was a lawyer, started at Amherst College in 1911, was elected Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated as valedictorian in 1915. He returned to D.C. to teach at Howard University. As the U.S. entered World War I, Houston joined the then racially segregated U. S. Army as an officer and was sent to France. He returned to the U.S. in 1919, and attended Harvard Law School. He was a member of the Harvard Law Review and graduated cum laude.

Houston played a role in nearly every civil rights case before the Supreme Court between 1930 and Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Houston’s strategy to attack and defeat Jim Crow segregation by demonstrating the inequality in the “separate but equal” doctrine from the Supreme Court’s Plessy v. Ferguson decision as it pertained to public education in the United States was the masterstroke that brought about the landmark Brown decision. Houston trained Thurgood Marshall, who, as we know, argued Brown before the Supreme Court.

As the CHHIRJ website explains, “Charles Hamilton Houston dedicated his life to using the law as a tool to reverse the unjust consequences of racial discrimination. CHHIRJ is committed to marshalling the resources of Harvard and beyond to continue Houston’s unfinished work”. Please bookmark their website at http://www.charleshamiltonhouston.org/, and make it a part of your regular reading.

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