Sons of Legal Giants to Explore School Desegregation

By Ramirez, Chris | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 22, 2010 | Go to article overview

Sons of Legal Giants to Explore School Desegregation


Ramirez, Chris, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


History books and law journals chronicle Thurgood Marshall's historic ascension from a small historically black university in Pennsylvania to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

But history has underplayed the role Charles Hamilton Houston played in Marshall's life and career, said the son of the late justice.

The sons of Marshall and Houston will discuss the careers of their fathers during "Living Legends: An Afternoon with John Marshall and Charles Hamilton Houston Jr.," scheduled for Tuesday by Duquesne University's School of Law as part of Black History Month.

Keeping education accessible to black youths will be a chief theme of the discussion.

"Ensuring that black students have more educational opportunities is vitally important," said John Marshall, youngest son of the late Supreme Court justice.

The role of historically black colleges and universities has taken an critical role as blacks and other minorities look for new skills during the recession, Marshall said.

"A lot more is riding on education in these times," said Marshall, formerly the secretary of public safety for two Virginia governors and the first black appointed director of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Marshall said Houston's influence on his father's life and career achievements weren't recognized until after Houston's death in 1950.

Houston was dean of Howard University School of Law in Washington, which Thurgood Marshall attended after graduating from Lincoln University in Chester County, near Philadelphia.

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