Hastie, William Henry, Jr., 1904-1976Alternative names
William Henry Hastie Jr. (November 17, 1904 – April 14, 1976) was an American lawyer, judge, educator, public official, and civil rights advocate. He was the first African American to serve as Governor of the United States Virgin Islands, as a federal judge, and as a federal appellate judge. He served as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and previously served as District Judge of the District Court of the Virgin Islands.
Hastie was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, to William Henry Hastie, Sr. and Roberta Childs. He graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College in 1925, and went on to Harvard Law School, receiving his LL.B. in 1930 and his S.J.D. in 1933.
Between his two law degrees, Hastie joined Charles Houston Hamilton's law firm in Washington, D.C., 1931-1933, after being admitted to the District of Columbia Bar. He worked with Houston, Thurgood Marshall and others on strategy and cases leading to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.
Hastie was Assistant Solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior, 1933-1937. From 1937 to 1939, he was a Federal District Judge in the Virgin Islands. He was later elected Governor of the Virgin Islands in 1946, and served until 1949.
Hastie became the Dean of the Howard University School of Law, 1939-1946, after having taught there as a professor of law, 1930-1937.
In 1940, Hastie was appointed Civilian Aide to the Secretary of War to investigate discriminatory practices towards African American in the military, and resigned in protest in 1943, after his recommendations were largely ignored. That same year, Hastie was honored by the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) with the prestigious Spingarn Medal. Hastie was a member of the NAACP from the 1930s until his death, and served on its Board of Directors from 1941 to 1968.
In 1949, Hastie was named to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals by President Harry S. Truman. Upon his confirmation to the court in 1950, Hastie attained the highest legal post ever held by an African American at the time. He served for 21 years on that court, the last three as Chief Judge, and retired in 1971, acquiring senior status.
Hastie married Beryl Lockhart in 1943, with whom he had two children, Karen Roberta and William H. Jr.
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Virgin Islands of the United States||00||VI|
|Segregation--United States--Pictorial works|
|Civil rights movement|
|Blacks--Segregation--United States--Pictorial works|
|United States. Army--Military life--Pictorial works|
|Virgin Islands of the United States|
|Segregation--United States--20th century|
|African American judges--20th century|
|Political campaigns--Pictorial works|
|Political campaigns--United States--Pictorial works|
|United States. Army--African American troops--Pictorial works|
|World War II, 1939-1945|
|Discrimination against African Americans|
|African American governors|