Distinguished African American Political and Governmental Leaders

By James Haskins | Go to book overview
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Robert Nelson Cornelius Nix, Sr.
Reproduced from AP/Wide World Photos

Born: August 9, 1905, in Orangeburg, South Carolina

Status: Died June 22, 1987, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Education: Graduate, Townsend Harris High School, New York, New York; graduate, 1921, Lincoln University, Chester County, Pennsylvania; law degree, 1924, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia

Position: Lawyer, Nix and Nix, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1925-c. 1958; elected committeeman of the 44th Ward, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1932; special deputy attorney general, Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, and special assistant deputy attorney general, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1934-1938; U.S. representative from the Second Congressional District of Pennsylvania, 1958-1979; committeeman of the 32nd Ward, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1979-1987


Early Years

Robert Nelson Cornelius Nix was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina, on August 9, 1905. His father, Nelson Nix, had been a slave who, upon gaining his freedom, had devoted himself to education; he earned a doctorate in mathematics and eventually became the dean of faculty at South Carolina State College in Orangeburg.

Feeling that his son would not receive an adequate education in Orangeburg, Nelson Nix and his wife Sylvia decided to send him to New York City for most of his education. In the early 1900s, schools in the South were segregated and the quality of education in the black schools was often poor. So Robert Nix traveled north and lived with relatives in New York, where he attended Townsend Harris High School.

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