For some time I’ve been thinking about starting a conversation with the African American legal community. It often seems to me that we are both legion and alone. How nice I thought it would be for us to have a place to come to question, vent and on days like this one, celebrate. Today, one of our own, was chosen by the widely diverse and exceedingly complicated citizens of this young nation to be President of the United States. I feel the kind of pride and kinship black barristers must’ve known the day Justice Thurgood Marshall donned his black robe for the first time or Charles Hamilton Houston won his first Supreme Court Case that fittingly committed every state to providing a place for the legal training of future black lawyers.
Charlie (as he was called by those closest to him) moved a lot of stones out of the future president’s way. Mr. Obama was the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review, but Dr. Houston was its first Negro editor. Mr. Obama organized voting drives and educated legal aspirants on the particulars of the constitution, but a half century earlier, Dr. Houston traveled through the deep south documenting the deplorable conditions of Negro schools then built an army of black lawyers to fight for them to have educational equality. Our 44th president is a great man and because of Dr. Houston, President Elect Barack Obama will have the opportunity to do great things.
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