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Spottswood William Robinson III
Born July 26, 1916(1916-07-26)
Richmond, Virginia
Died October 11, 1998 (aged 82)
Richmond, Virginia
Education Virginia Union University
Howard University (1939)
Occupation United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Spouse(s) Marian Wilkerson
Children Nina Robinson Govan
Spottswood William Robinson IV
Parents Spottswood William Robinson II

Spottswood William Robinson III (July 26, 1916 – October 11, 1998) was an educator, civil rights attorney and judge.

In the early 1950s, Robinson and his law-partner Oliver Hill litigated several civil rights lawsuits in Virginia. In 1951, Robinson and Hill took up the cause of the African American students at the segregated R.R. Moton High School in Farmville who had walked out of their dilapidated school. The subsequent lawsuit, Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County which was consolidated with four other cases decided under Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court of the United States in 1954. In their arguments before the Court, Robinson made the first argument on behalf of the plaintiffs.[1]

In 1966, Judge Robinson became the first African-American appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit when he was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson. He became the first African American to become Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Circuit Court.[2]

Biography

Born in Richmond, Virginia on July 26, 1916, Robinson received his under-graduate degree from Virginia Union University. In 1939, Robinson received his law degree from Howard University, graduating first in his class and achieving the highest scholastic average in the history of the Howard University Law School.[3] He was a faculty member of the Howard University School of Law from his graduation in 1939 until 1947, and was one of the core attorneys of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) from 1948 to 1960. Through the NAACP LDF he worked on cases such as Brown v. Board of Education and Chance v. Lambeth (which invalidated carrier-enforced racial segregation in interstate transportation).[4]

From 1960-1964 Robinson was Dean of the Howard University School of Law. He also served as a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights from 1961 to 1963. In 1964 he became the first African-American to be appointed the United States district court for the District of Columbia. In 1966, Judge Robinson became the first African-American appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit when he was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson. On May 7, 1981, he became the first African American to serve as Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Circuit Court. Judge Robinson took senior status in 1989 and later retired. He died on October 11, 1998 in Richmond, Virginia.[5]

Positions

  • Faculty, Howard University School of Law, 1939-1948
  • Private practice, Richmond, Virginia, 1943-1960
  • Counsel / representative, Virginia NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, 1948-1950
  • Southeast regional counsel, NAACP, 1951-1960
  • Professor / dean, Howard University School of Law, 1960-1963
  • U.S. Commission of Civil Rights, 1961-1963

References

  1. ^ http://www.kshs.org/research/topics/cultural/brown_kba/pdfs/script.pdf
  2. ^ News - inRich.com
  3. ^ "Fighter for Civil Rights. Spottswood William Robinson 3d.". New York Times. 1961. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20916FC355B147A93CAAB178CD85F458685F9. Retrieved 2008-06-25. "The highest scholastic average in the history of the Howard University Law School is held by Spottswood William Robinson 3d. "Intellectual" is the word people use to describe him."  
  4. ^ "Judge Spottswood W. Robinson III". Brown University. http://www.brownat50.org/brownBios/BioJudgeSpottswoodRobinson.html. Retrieved 2008-06-26.  
  5. ^ "Spottswood W. Robinson 3d, Civil Rights Lawyer, Dies at 82". New York Times. October 13, 1998. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C02EFDB173AF930A25753C1A96E958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 2008-06-26. "Spottswood W. Robinson 3d, a Virginia civil rights lawyer who argued one of the five cases that led to the Supreme Court's 1954 desegregation ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, died on Sunday at his home in Richmond. He was 82."  
Legal offices
Preceded by
George Thomas Washington
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
1966–1989
Succeeded by
Arthur Raymond Randolph
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