Black History

#BlackHistoryFact for October 14: Bar Association of D.C. accepts African-Americans

In Washington, D.C. during the 1950s, it was not required that lawyers belong to a bar. However, there were bars that the state of D.C. maintained for lawyers to choose from. The bars were already segregated at the time – the Bar Association of the District of Columbia was “the white bar” while Washington Bar Association was “the black bar”. Black and white lawyers practiced in the same courtrooms but other facilities throughout D.C. remained segregated and the Bar Associations helped to maintain segregation.

The Bar Association of the District of Columbia finally desegregated after Charles S. Rhyne, a white man, vowed to desegregate the organization while running for president of the organization. However, on October 14, 1958, the Bar Association voted to integrate and accept black members. The Washington Bar Association remained open for anyone who focused on the needs of black people. Both of these organizations exist.

Source: Bar Association of District of Columbia accepts African-Americans

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