James Nabrit III

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James Madison Nabrit III (June 11, 1932 – March 22, 2013) was an African American civil rights attorney who won several important decisions before the U.S. Supreme Court. He was also a long-time attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.[1]


Nabrit III was born in Houston, Texas to James Nabrit, Jr., a prominent civil rights attorney, law professor and later President of Howard University. He grew up in Washington, D.C., where he attended segregated public schools through part of high school. He finished high school at the Mount Hermon School for Boys, now Northfield Mount Hermon, in Massachusetts. Nabrit III graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine in 1952 and Yale Law School in 1955. Nabrit began his career with the law firm of Reeves, Robinson & Duncan, served two years in the U.S. Army and then spent 30 years (1959–89) as an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. He argued many important civil rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and various U.S. Court of Appeals, including Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education in 1972, and Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham in 1969. He argued 12 cases before the Supreme Court and won 9.[1]

Nabrit died on March 22, 2013 in a hospital in Bethesda, Maryland of lung cancer. He was 80.[1]

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  1. ^ a b c "James M. Nabrit, a Fighter for Civil Rights, Dies at 80". New York Times. Retrieved 29 March 2013.

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