William Henry Hastie

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Hastie, William Henry

(1904–76) judge, public official; born in Knoxville, Tenn. A 1925 Amherst graduate, he taught for two years before going on to Harvard Law School. He taught briefly at Howard University, worked for a private firm and, from 1933–37, served as a U.S. Interior Department attorney. He returned to Howard as dean of the law school (1939–46). He was a consultant on race relations to the secretary of war but resigned in 1943 to protest continued discrimination against African-American servicemen. In 1949 he became the first Afrrican-American jurist appointed a judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He later became an appellate chief judge for the Philadelphia circuit. He retired from the bench in 1971.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.