Closing arguments for participants in the Charles Hamilton Houston Law School Preparatory Institute, founded by D.C. attorney Donald M. Temple as the recent graduates make their presentation to a panel of judges. in the U.S. Court of Appeals building in the nation;s capital. Hundreds of aspiring lawyers have taken the course the summer before beginning law school. After a grueling seven weeks of learning about the history and development of American jurisprudence, how to read and analyze cases, legal research and writing, contracts, torts, civil procedure, three law school exams and the writing and arguing of their briefs, these young folk are battle ready.
Temple completed the 39th session in July, as he and other institute faculty instill that the law for African-Americans is not just a career but a calling. His dedication underscores why it makes a difference to utilize independent African-American lawyers, not just because they can take on the tough cases, but because of their roles as leaders and agenda setters.
Richard Greener, the first black graduate of Harvard University, was the catalyst for the campaign that raised the funding for Grant's Tomb National Memorial on Riverside Drive in New York City by 1897. He would pave the way for Houston to graduate from Harvard. Houston would follow Greener as dean of Howard University School of Law.
Mason B. Allen would become the first African-American attorney in 1845, but it took a century to gain the right for blacks to attend law school in the Sweat v. University of Texas case.
Temple, a celebated trial attorney who has won multiple million-dollar judgments and been effective in combating police brutality, is a specialist in the use of the anti-Ku Klux Klan acts (USC 42:1981) signed by Grant to protect the newly won Constitutional rights of African-Americans. The lineage of lawyers from Greener to Houston to Thurgood Marshall has fought for the liberties which Grant won on the battlefield.
He gives a TedX talk on the social and political implications of technology on Sept. 14 at 5 p.m. at Howard University. As guest editor of the National Black Business Month issue of the Journal of Black Innovation, he continues a theme begun by the first guest editor Nichol Bradford in the article Harriet Tubman 2.0: A Field Guide for Activists.