Two former deans of Howard University's School of Law are being honored this month by Howard's near-namesake, Harvard Law School.
A symposium commemorating William Hastie was held last week at Harvard. Hastie was graduated from Harvard Law in 1930, and was on the Howard Law faculty from 1930 to 1937 before becoming the first black ever appointed to a federal court (the U.S. District Court in the Virgin Islands) by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937. Two years later he returned to Washington as dean of Howard Law, where he served until 1946. Three years later, President Harry S Truman named him to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
An exhibit of Hastie's memorabilia is on display at Harvard's Langdell Library until Feb. 2.
Harvard also is dedicating the December issue of its prestigious Law Review to Charles Hamilton Houston, another Harvard Law graduate (1922) who also was a professor and dean at Howard Law. As a student in 1921, Houston was the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review.
The law firm that was headed by Houston in Washington is revered because Houston was regarded, in the words of the Review's current editor, Robert D. Fram, as "the architect of the legal strategy which resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education."