James Nabrit Jr.

James Nabrit Jr stands on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court

Courtesy photo from NAACP

Quick Facts
Argued Bolling v. Sharpe case
Place of Birth:
Atlanta, GA
Date of Birth:
September 4, 1900
Place of Death:
Bethesda, MD
Date of Death:
December 27, 1997
Place of Burial:
Suitland, MD
Cemetery Name:
Lincoln Memorial Cemetery

As an instructor at Howard University, James Nabrit Jr. taught the first formal civil rights law course offered in the country. After receiving degrees from Morehouse College and Northwestern University Law School, he joined the Howard University law faculty in 1936. While teaching at Howard University, he had Robert Carter and Spottswood Robinson as students, each of which would go on to contribute to civil rights law by arguing portions of the Brown case.

In 1950, civil rights lawyer Charles Hamilton Houston became ill, and could no longer work on obtaining equal facilities in Washington D.C. Houston trusted Nabrit to take over his work. One of those cases was Bolling v. Sharpe. 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.

Nabrit continued to work at Howard University after Brown v. Board of Education. He served as dean of the Howard University School of Law from 1958 to 1960. He also served as president of the University from 1960-1965, as well as 1968-1969.

Last updated: December 30, 2020