Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

William A. C. Hughes, Jr. (1905-1966)
MSA SC 3520-13492


From:  "Baltimore Lawyers and Judges Of the 20th Century:  Celebration of the Mitchell Courthouse Centennial."  The Daily Record, 21 September 2000.

"At his death on September 24, 1966, W.A.C. Hughes was eulogized by Thurgood Marshall and Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr., as the dean of civil rights lawyers and a major moral and intellectual force behind the movement in Maryland.  In a fitting epitaph, Juanita Jackson Mitchell observed, 'We have lost a legal giant.  He was a brilliant lawyer whose talents for the past 34 years have given the Constitution real meaning for the poor, oppressed and the downtrodden.  The man might die, but the legacy of William Alfred Carroll Hughes, Jr., remains.'

"The son of Bishop William A. C. Hughes, Sr., of the Methodist Church, Hughes attended the Dunbar High School of Washington, D.C., and the Morgan Academy.  He was accepted by Lincoln University and also attended classes at the University of Pennsylvania.  After graduation, he was admitted to Boston University to study law.  He graduated in 1930, honored for the highest grade for the best prepared and most ably argued moot court case.

"Hughes served as legal counsel for the Baltimore City Young People’s Forum, the precursor to the NAACP in Baltimore, and rose quickly in the civil rights movement.  He became chief counsel for the NAACP in Baltimore in 1935.  Hughes sought and won integration of the University of Maryland and equal access to the public schools in Baltimore. In the famous Mergenthaler and Western High School desegregation suits of 1953, his victory positioned Baltimore to be the first city below the Mason-Dixon Line to voluntarily desegregate its public schools after Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Another of the many examples of Hughes’ determination and victories was the opening of Enoch Pratt Library’s training courses to African-American librarians in 1945."

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