Celebrating Black Heroes: Charles Hamilton Houston

February 02, 2022   |   Xavier Lightfoot

To mark Black History Month, we asked members of our New Lawyers Division to name a Black historical figure who inspires them. Xavier Lightfoot of Ward and Smith, P.A. chose a legal legend.

“I draw inspiration from the legacy of Charles Hamilton Houston. Houston dedicated his life to “fighting for men who could not strike back” following his service as a first lieutenant in World War I in the racially segregated U.S. Army. Often, when we think of the end of school segregation – we tend to think of Brown v. Board of Education and the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.  But Houston’s cardinal legal strategy in exposing the fallacy that schools were “separate but equal” paved the way for the Court’s decision in Brown.  In fact, prior to his death in 1950, Houston had significant involvement in most of the civil rights cases that came before the Supreme Court.  

Simply put, Houston – also known as ‘The Man Who Killed Jim Crow’ – was a legal giant.”

For more on Houston visit the NAACP’s History Explained entry or Harvard University’s Charles Hamilton Houston’s Institute for Race & Justice site.


About the Author

Xavier Lightfoot

Xavier Lightfoot

Xavier’s practice primarily focuses on labor and employment law, serious personal injury and wrongful death, and civil litigation.

As a member of Ward and Smith’s Labor and Employment Practice Group, he regularly advises employers on a wide range of labor and employment law issues, including personnel policies and handbooks, employment discrimination and harassment, employee discipline and termination, drug and alcohol testing, and various wage and hour matters.He has also conducted training presentations and webinars for employers on various COVID-19 employment topics such as workforce reduction, ADA compliance, emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements under the FFCRA, best practices and strategies for employers to return workers to the workplace, and preparation of liability waivers.

In addition, Xavier has experience litigating claims for serious personal injury, including cases involving vehicle accidents, professional malpractice, and premises liability, among other areas.He also represents both corporate and individual clients in a broad range of civil litigation before state and federal courts.