Spottswood William Robinson III

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Spottswood William Robinson III
Robinson spotswood.jpg
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
In office
1966[1] – 1989
Nominated by Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by George Thomas Washington
Succeeded by Arthur Raymond Randolph
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
In office
1964–1966
Nominated by Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by James Ward Morris
Succeeded by Gerhard Gesell
Personal details
Born (1916-07-26)July 26, 1916
Richmond, Virginia
Died October 11, 1998(1998-10-11) (aged 82)
Richmond, Virginia
Nationality US
Spouse(s) Marian Wilkerson
Children Nina Robinson Govan
Spottswood W. Robinson IV
Parents Spottswood William Robinson II
Residence Richmond, Virginia
Education Virginia Union University
Howard University (1939)

Spottswood William Robinson III (July 26, 1916 – October 11, 1998) was an American educator, civil rights attorney, and federal judge.

In the early 1950s, Robinson and his law-partner Oliver Hill litigated several civil rights lawsuits in Virginia. In 1951, Robinson and Hill took up the cause of the African American students at the segregated R.R. Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia who had walked out of their dilapidated school. The subsequent lawsuit, Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, was consolidated with four other cases decided under Brown v. Board of Education by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1954. In his arguments before the Court, Robinson made the first argument on behalf of the plaintiffs.[2]

Robinson was appointed by President Johnson in 1966 to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the first African-American to do so. He also became the first African American to become Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Circuit Court.[3]

Biography[edit]

Robinson was the son of a prominent Richmond attorney. He was born in Richmond on 26 July 1916. He received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Union University. In 1939 he received his law degree from Howard University, graduating first in his class and achieving the highest scholastic average in the history of the Howard University Law School.[4] He was a faculty member of the Howard University School of Law from his graduation in 1939 until 1947, and was one of the core attorneys of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) from 1948 to 1960. Through the NAACP Legal Defense Fund he worked on cases such as Brown v. Board of Education, which ended segregation in public schools, and Chance v. Lambeth, which invalidated carrier-enforced racial segregation in interstate transportation.[5]

Robinson was named Dean of the Howard University School of Law in 1960, remaining in that position through 1963. He also served as a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights from 1961 to 1963. In 1964 he became the first African-American to be appointed the United States district court for the District of Columbia. In 1966 Robinson became the first African-American appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit when he was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson. On May 7, 1981, he became the first African American to serve as Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Circuit Court. Judge Robinson took senior status in 1989 and later retired. He died on October 11, 1998 in Richmond, Virginia.[6]

Positions[edit]

  • Faculty, Howard University School of Law, 1939–1948
  • Private practice, Richmond, Virginia, 1943–1960
  • Counsel / representative, Virginia NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, 1948–1950
  • Southeast regional counsel, NAACP, 1951–1960
  • Professor / dean, Howard University School of Law, 1960–1963
  • U.S. Commission of Civil Rights, 1961–1963

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Brown@50: Fulfilling the Promise". Howard University School of Law. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  2. ^ [1] Brown
  3. ^ News - inRich.com
  4. ^ "Fighter for Civil Rights. Spottswood William Robinson 3d.". New York Times. 1961. Retrieved 25 June 2008. The highest scholastic average in the history of the Howard University Law School is held by Spottswood William Robinson 3d. "Intellectual" is the word people use to describe him. 
  5. ^ "Judge Spottswood W. Robinson III". Brown University. Retrieved 26 June 2008. 
  6. ^ Pace, Eric (13 October 1998). "Spottswood W. Robinson 3d, Civil Rights Lawyer, Dies at 82". New York Times. Retrieved 26 June 2008. Spottswood W. Robinson 3d, a Virginia civil rights lawyer who argued one of the five cases that led to the Supreme Court's 1954 desegregation ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, died on Sunday at his home in Richmond. He was 82. 
Legal offices
Preceded by
George Thomas Washington
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
1966–1989
Succeeded by
Arthur Raymond Randolph