Celebrating Black Heroes: Charles Hamilton Houston

February 02, 2022   |   X. 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.