James Madison Nabrit, Jr., was a prominent civil rights attorney who won several important arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also served as president of howard university during the 1960s and was appointed Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Nabrit was born in Georgia in 1900 to James Nabrit, Sr., a Baptist minister and baker and Gertrude Augusta West. He later attended Morehouse College and graduated in 1923. After graduation, he enrolled in Northwestern University Law School in 1927. Nabrit began teaching law at howard university in 1936 and served as dean of the law school from 1958 to 1960 and president of the university from 1960 to 1969. In 1938, he started the first formal civil rights law course in the United States.
Beginning in the 1940s and through the 1950s, Nabrit handled a number of civil rights cases for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, working with prominent attorneys such as Thurgood Marshall, later a Supreme Court justice. Notably, Nabrit argued Bolling v. Sharpe, a companion case of Brown v. Board of Education.