W. Ashbie Hawkins:

Legal Activity

Hawkins, along with Warner T. McGuinn, got involved in a dispute over a segregation law enacted in 1910. They successfully defended a black man who suffered violence at the hands of whites disturbed at his decision to reside in their neighborhood. The law, designed by one Samuel West, was rejected as unconstitutional by the Criminal Court on February 4, 1911. [1]

In October of 1911 Hawkins, outraged at poor sleeping and eating conditions for blacks on Chesapeake Bay ferryboats, took the Baltimore, Chesapeake and Atlantic Railway Company to court. Though his complaint was dismissed, the decision of the Public Service Commission on February 13, 1912 did recommend that the company upgrade it's facilities for blacks. [2]

1913 saw Hawkins in action again, this time as counsel for John H. Gurry, indicted for violating another recently enacted segregation ordinance. The Baltimore Criminal Court and the Maryland Court of Appeals agreed with Hawkins that the law was unconstitutional. [3]

Hawkins made his biggest mark in 1917 before the U.S. Supreme Court in Buchanan v. Worley.

Personal Life

Professional Career


Historic Sites


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