Item Details

Interview With Genna Rae McNeil

Elwood, William A; Kulish, Mykola
Online; Online Video; Video
2006; 1988-09-01
Part one. Author Genna Rae McNeil offers insight on Charles Hamilton Houston's privileged upbringing, education, and early career. Houston served in the military during World War I, and the extreme discrimination therein inspired him to make civil rights his life's mission. McNeil covers Houston's experiences during the Red Summer of 1919, at Harvard Law School, and as a lawyer at his father's firm. Part two. McNeil describes Houston's belief that lawyers were social engineers with responsibility for improving society. She tells of Houston's professorship at Howard University Law School and his work to change the school from a night school to a traditional daytime degree program. Houston became involved with the NAACP and flirted with International Labor Defense, best known for publicizing the injustice of the Scottsboro case. Part three. Ms. McNeil talks about Houston's involvement with the International Labor Defense. Houston became the first paid lawyer for the NAACP, with the charge to direct a campaign against inequality in education and transportation. Houston crafted the legal strategy used to eliminate segregation. He understood that the justice system functioned in relation to its precedents. Ms. McNeil discusses Houston's travels in the South, especially his visits to rural African American schools. Houston made films of the differences between African American schools and white schools during his trips in order to document what "separate but equal" meant in the South. Part four. Ms. McNeil recounts Houston's involvement with African American railroad firemen and his contributions to activism in the fight for equality in the military, for fair employment practices, and for District of Columbia public schools. McNeil talks about the formation of the Consolidated Parents Group. Part five. Ms. McNeil emphasizes the importance of Houston's involvement in the Consolidated Parents Group. Houston fell ill and died while working with the CPG; he made arrangements for other lawyers to continue this work. McNeil offers her appraisal of Houston's philosophy of life and his commitment to principle. She gives her theory why Houston is not better known. Part six. McNeil continues her account of Houston's accomplishments, and she conjectures why we have forgotten about him.
Elwood, William A
Kulish, Mykola
McNeil, Genna Rae
Digitized by: Cincinnati, Ohio : The PPS Group, 2006.
Source footage for the documentary, The road to Brown : the untold story of “the man who killed Jim Crow” (California Newsreel, 1990), about the life of Charles Hamilton Houston, his crusade for civil rights, and the events that led to Brown v. the Board of Education, the 1954 Supreme Court decision that declared the doctrine of separate but equal to be illegal.
Title supplied by cataloger.
Recorded at Richmond, Virginia.
William A. Elwood Civil Rights Lawyers Project
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Road to Brown : the untold story of "the man who killed Jim Crow."
William A. Elwood Civil Rights Lawyers Project
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