Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Hastie, William H. (1904–1976)

Hastie attended Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C., Amherst College, and Harvard Law School where he was on the editorial board of Harvard Law Review. In the 1930s, he became a race relations advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1937, he became the first African American federal judge when he was appointed to US District Court of the Virgin Islands. During World War II, he served as civilian aide to Secretary of War Stimson until he stepped down to protest the unequal treatment of blacks, a cause he fought for throughout the war. He worked with Houston and Marshall on cases leading up to the 1954 Brown v. Board decision. In 1949, he was appointed to the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and served for 21 years, including several as chief judge.