May 11, 2005 Judge Robert L. Carter To Discuss His Memoirs on May 25

Carter Argued Brown v. Board Case Before U.S. Supreme Court

Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: Robert Saladini (202) 707-2692

Judge Robert L. Carter, an intellectual architect for the civil rights movement and the man who argued the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case before the Supreme Court, will discuss his recently published memoir, which is titled “A Matter of Law: A Memoir of Struggle in the Cause of Equal Rights,” at noon on Wednesday, May 25, in Room LJ 119 of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.

The event, which is sponsored by the Kluge Center, is free and open to the public; no reservations are required.

“A Matter of Law” is the story of Carter’s struggle for equal rights for all Americans. As chief legal assistant to Thurgood Marshall and then as general counsel to the NAACP, he played a central role in crafting the legal strategy for pivotal desegregation cases before the Supreme Court, including Brown v. Board, the celebrated case that outlawed segregation in the nation's public schools. As a civil rights lawyer, Carter led the fight to dismantle the legal structure of segregation in the South, and then brought the campaign North.

Carter’s history with the NAACP during the 1940s to 1960s is at the center of his memoir, which offers a rare personal account of how the legal campaign in Brown was mounted. In the aftermath of that case, Carter turned his attention to broadening its application to challenge racial inequality in Northern schools. His account of the efforts of the NAACP’s small legal staff to expose the pervasive nature of school segregation in the North brings this history to the forefront for the first time—and is central to any discussion of the limitations of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

Carter’s post-NAACP career has enabled him to participate in and reflect on the fight for racial justice from a variety of vantage points, most recently as a federal district judge in the Southern District of New York.

A graduate of Lincoln University, the Howard University School of Law and Columbia University Law School, Carter has served as an adjunct professor at New York University Law School, Yale University and the University of Michigan Law School; and as a Regents Lecturer at the University of California at Los Angeles. In addition, he was a delegate to the World Assembly on Human Rights in Montreal in 1968 and a member of the New York State Special Commission on Attica, which investigated the causes of the prison riots in the state's prison from 1971 to 1972.

Carter has received the Alumni Award for Distinguished Postgraduate Achievement from Howard University and the Federal Bar Council’s Emory Bucknor Medal for Outstanding Public Service (1995). In addition, he holds honorary degrees from Northeastern University, College of the Holy Cross and Howard University School of Law.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate and energize scholarly discussion, distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and interact with policymakers in Washington. The Kluge Center houses senior Kluge Chairs, other senior-level chairs, senior distinguished scholars and nearly 25 postdoctoral fellows. For more information about any of the fellowships, grants and programs offered by the John W. Kluge Center, contact the Office of Scholarly Programs, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, DC 20540-4860; telephone (202) 707-3302, fax (202) 707-3595, or visit the Web at


PR 05-112
ISSN 0731-3527