Charles Hamilton Houston
|Charles H Houston|
September 3, 1895|
|Died||April 22, 1950
|Alma mater||Amherst College
Harvard Law School
Charles Hamilton Houston (September 3, 1895 – April 22, 1950) was a prominent African American lawyer, Dean of Howard University Law School, and NAACP Litigation Director who played a significant role in dismantling the Jim Crow laws, which earned him the title The Man Who Killed Jim Crow. He is also well known for having trained future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Houston was born in Washington, D.C. His father worked as a lawyer. Houston started at Amherst College in 1911, was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, 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 began attending Harvard Law School. He was a member of the Harvard Law Review and graduated cum laude.
Through his work at the NAACP, 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 plan 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 died from a heart attack on April 22, 1950 at the age of 54. He was posthumously awarded the NAACP's Spingarn Medal in 1950 and, in 1958, the main building of the Howard University School of Law was dedicated as Charles Hamilton Houston Hall. His significance became more broadly known through the success of Thurgood Marshall and after the 1983 publication of Genna Rae McNeil's Groundwork: Charles Hamilton Houston and the Struggle for Civil Rights.
Houston is the person for whom the Charles Houston Bar Association and the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School—which opened in the fall of 2005—are named. In addition, there is a professorship at Harvard Law named after him; Elena Kagan, formerly the Dean of Harvard Law School and now an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, was the Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law.
Houston was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. In 1991, Barack Obama, then the editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Review, appeared in a minute long infomercial to commemorate Houston. Obama would go on to become the nation's first African-American President of the United States 
The C.H. Houston apartment building, formerly owned by Howard University, at 1712 16th St NW, Washington, D.C. was named after Charles Hamilton Houston.
The Washington Bar Association annually awards the Charles Hamilton Houston Medallion of Merit to an individual who has advanced the cause of Houstonian jurisprudence.
- The Man Who Killed Jim Crow America.gov. Retrieved 14 Oct 2009.
- "Charles Houston Bar Association Awards" Price and Associates. Retrieved 23 Feb 2011.
- NAACP History: Charles Hamilton Houston NAACP.org. Retrieved 23 Feb 2012
- Jessie Carney Smith - Encyclopedia of African American Popular Culture
- 1991 Obama infomercial commemorating Houston
- Asante, Molefi Kete (2002). 100 Greatest African Americans: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Amherst, New York. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-963-8.
Further reading 
- James Jr, Rawn (2010). Root and Branch: Charles Hamilton Houston, Thurgood Marshall, and the Struggle to End Segregation. New York: Bloomsbury Press.
- Mack, Kenneth W., (2012). Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer (2012). ISBN 978-0-674-04687-0.
- McNeil, Genna Rae (1983). Groundwork: Charles Hamilton Houston and the Struggle for Civil Rights. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-1179-0.
- Kluger, Richard (1977). Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-394-72255-8.
- Charles Hamilton Houston information at Cornell University
- Charles H. Houston and the Gaines case
- Biography of Houston at the "Brown at 50" website
- Charles Houston Bar Association
- The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School
- The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute, Madison, WI
- Road to Brown transcript, California Newsreel, Presentation of University of Virginia