Root and Branch: Charles Hamilton Houston, Thurgood Marshall, and the Struggle to End Segregation
Although widely viewed as the beginning of the legal struggle to end segregation, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Brown v. Board of Education was in fact the culmination of decades of court challenges led by a band of lawyers intent on dismantling Jim Crow one statute at a time. Charles Hamilton Houston laid the groundwork, reinventing the law school at Howard University (where he taught a young, brash Thurgood Marshall) and becoming special counsel to the NAACP. Later, Houston and Marshall traveled through the South, often at great personal risk, chipping away, case by case, at the legal foundations of racial oppression. The buttoned-up Houston and the easygoing Marshall made an unlikely pair-but their partnership made an unforgettable impact on American history.