Stanford University The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute
James M. Nabrit, III, civil rights lawyer, dead at 80.
March 28, 2013

Born on 11 June 1932 in Houston, Texas, James M Nabrit, III, grew up in Washington D.C. where he attended a segregated high school in the city's public school system.

Nabrit's father, James M. Nabrit, Jr., helped Thurgood Marshall argue the cases that led to the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954. After receiving his law degree from Yale University, Nabrit served two years in the Army and was then hired by Marshall to work for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in 1959.

During his 30-year career with the defense fund, Nabrit argued twelve cases before the Supreme Court, winning nine. Additionally, Nabrit worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March to prevent Alabama officials from obstructing the march with legal red tape. Nabrit helped create a plan for the march that included the number of marchers and plans for rest stops along the way. Nabrit's plan gained judicial approval at the federal level and lent credence to King's assertion that the demonstrators had a constitutional right to march.

Nabrit continued to battle systems of institutionalized discrimination in court for the remainder of his career, including arguing the cases Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham in 1969 and Keyes v. School District No. 1, Denver in 1973. Following his retirement in 1989, Nabrit moved to Silver Spring, Maryland and continued his involvement with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, serving as advisor and board member for many years.

To read James M. Nabrit III's obituary, click here.

To learn more about the Selma to Montgomery March, visit the King Encyclopedia page here.

To read more about Thurgood Marshall, visit his King Encyclopedia page, here.

Visit the King Encyclopedia entry for Brown v. Board of Education here.

Click here to visit the website of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

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