Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Posted by: Roxxanne Roxxanne

Last Saturday, October, 24, 2009, the illustrious Howard University School of Law (fondly referred to as “Da H.U.S.L.”, pronounced “the hustle” for more reason than one – as they say “we stay on our HUSL!”) held its 140th Anniversary Gala at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

The award-winning actor, Laurence Fishburne was the event’s honorary chairman. Fishburne played the role of Howard law alumnus and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in the Broadway production of "THURGOOD."

NAACP Attorneys George E. C. Hayes, Thurgood Marshall and James Nabrit, Jr.

H.U.S.L. was established in 1869 and is widely recognized as the home of the brainchild behind Brown v. The Board of Education, the landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court, which overturned earlier rulings of Plessy v. Ferguson, by declaring that state laws that established separate public schools for black and white students denied black children equal educational opportunities.

Charles Hamilton Houston

Charles Hamilton Houston was a key player in spear-heading litigation that purposefully birth Brown v. The Board of Education movement. Houston, a Washington D.C. native, served in World War I. After returning from the war he entered Harvard Law School and was member of the prestigious Harvard Law Review.

Houston went on to teach the likes of Thurgood Marshall (first African-American United States Supreme Court Justice—and in my opinion the ONLY African-American Supreme Court Justice, e.g. Clarence don’t count!) at H.U.S.L. and later became, Dean of the University.

Thurgood Marshall, Donald Murray and Charles H. Houston
Houston together with a select group of mostly Howard lawyers, including Thurgood Marshall, and working through the NAACP and later the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, created a number of precedents that ultimately led to the dismantling of de jure discrimination after Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, four years after his death.

Fun Facts About Da H.U.S.L.

The law school was started as a night school in 1869 and only became a full time day school in 1928.

Class of 1903

Charlotte Ray

Charlotte Ray, class of 1872, was the first woman to graduate from the law school and was also the first woman admitted to the D.C. Bar.

Thurgood Marshall during Brown v. The Board of Education litigation

Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American U.S. Supreme Court Justice graduated from H.U.S.L. in 1933.

The law school has produced three mayors of Washington, D.C.: Walter Washington ’48, Sharon Pratt Kelly ’68 and Adrian Fenty ’96.

The current dean of H.U.S.L., Kurt L. Schmoke, was mayor of Baltimore from 1987 until 1999.

Some Notable Alum of H.U.S.L.

Charlotte E. Ray, first African American female lawyer

Thurgood Marshall, first African American United States Supreme Court Justice

Roland Burris, United States Senate

Adrian Fenty, Mayor of Washington, D.C.

Vernon E. Jordan Jr., former president of the National Urban League

 Sharon Pratt Kelly, Mayor of Washington, D.C.

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