Jack Greenberg

Jack Greenberg sits in a dark pinstripe suit and striped neck-tie

Courtesy photo from Huffington Post

Quick Facts
First white attorney for NAACP.
Place of Birth:
Brooklyn, New York, NY
Date of Birth:
December 22, 1924

As the first white attorney for the NAACP, Jack Greenberg helped to argue Brown v. Board of Education at the U.S. Supreme Court level. Not only was he the only white attorney, he was also the youngest attorney on the NAACP team. In 1949, Greenberg began his work with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and continued until 1984. From 1961 to 1984, Greenberg served as director-counsel.

Greenberg also worked on the Kansas case. On June 21, 1951, he arrived in Topeka with Bob Carter to gather information. He would have been able to stay at any hotel, or eat at any restaurant in town, but decided it was best to stay with Bob Carter in the home of a NAACP member. Greenberg and Louis Redding were responsible for arguing Belton v. Gebhart at the U.S. Supreme Court level. This case, along with four others would come to the U.S. Supreme Court at the same time and become known as Brown v. Board of Education.

In 1984, he became a member of the faculty at Columbia University Law School. He was the dean of Columbia College from 1989-1993, after which he remained on the faculty of the law school. Throughout his career, he has remained active in civil rights and human rights causes. As the author of Crusaders in the Courts, Greenberg shared his personal experiences working for the NAACP.

Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park

Last updated: December 16, 2020