1937 September 14

Hugo Black, New Supreme Court Justice, Attacked for Past KKK Membership


Hugo Black, a U.S. Senator from Alabama, was nominated for the Supreme Court by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 12, 1937. During his confirmation process, a controversy arose over reports that early in his political career he had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan. He was nonetheless confirmed by a wide margin in the Senate and was sworn in as a justice. The controversy over his KKK membership continued, however, and on this day, he was again attacked.

On the Court, Hugo Black proved to be a strong supporter of racial justice and one of the greatest civil libertarians ever to serve on the Court. On June 29, 1947, when President Harry Truman became the first president ever to address the NAACP, Justice Black joined him on the dais at the Lincoln Memorial.

Read: Roger K. Newman, Hugo Black: A Biography (1994)

Listen to Justice Black on the Bill of Rights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAgQdeup2v0

Learn more: Howard Ball, Hugo L. Black: Cold Steel Warrior (1996)

Learn more about Hugo Black’s life and career: http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/face/Article.jsp?id=h-1848

Learn more about the Klan today: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/ideology/ku-klux-klan

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