Charles Houston

George E.C. Hayes, Thurgood Marshall, and James Nabrit Jr congratulate each other outside of the Supreme Court on the day of the decision

James Nabrit Jr and His Uncompromising Assault on Segregation

James Nabrit Jr came to the District as an up-and-coming Howard law professor. He developed the first course at an American law school on civil rights law and instilled in his students an unrelenting belief in the immorality and impracticality of the Plessy v. Ferguson decision. As the lead counsel for the District's Bolling v. Sharpe case, Nabrit championed the position of attacking segregation outright, instead of relying on equalization. He pushed Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP to sharpen their attacks on school segregation and strongly influenced the outcome of all of the Brown v. Board school cases.

Charles Hamilton Houston

Charles Hamilton Houston and His Civil Rights Brain Trust

Charles Hamilton Houston is referred to as the "architect" of the civil rights movement. Before helping the Consolidated Parent Group kickoff their legal case, Houston built up the Howard University Law School into a world-class legal institution and mentored some of the most important figures of the civil rights movement, including Thurgood Marshall.

Local Activists, Backed by District’s Black Churches, Led the Fight for DC School Desegregation

Integrated classroom at Anacostia High School

The history of school desegregation in the District is rooted in civil disobedience. The story is one of a grassroots organization of parents that challenged the institution of legalized segregation to guarantee better schools for their children. Throughout the seven-year struggle, the activists were supported by the District's Black churches, and their mission was grounded in the principles of faith and social justice.