Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Tucker, Samuel W. (1913–1990)

Tucker started his civil rights career in 1939, conducting the first nonviolent sit-in of the civil rights movement at a library in Alexandria. He attended Howard University as an undergraduate, and qualified for the Virginia Bar in 1933 on the basis of his independent study and work in a law office. A partner of Hill, Tucker and Marsh, he led NAACP’s legal challenge of many post– Brown v. Board of Education cases, famously arguing Green v. County School Board of New Kent County (1968) before the Supreme Court, which ruled that schools had an “affirmative duty” to desegregate. He worked to end racial discrimination in jury selection and challenged racial bias in death penalty convictions, taking on 150 cases in 1967 alone.