Black Facts for April 22nd

The Green Book Pt I

1978 - Krystian Legierski (1978– )

Krystian Legierski, an LGBT activist, politician, lawyer, and entrepreneur, is the first openly gay person elected to public office in Poland. He was born on April 22, 1978, in the village of Koniakow in southwestern Poland. His mother is Polish and his father is from Mauritania. Legierski, known for his progressive political and social views, frequently discusses being brought up by his religious mother and grandmother in a traditionally conservative community. He notes, however, that both his family and his community have always been supportive of him. He graduated from the Faculty of Law and Administration at the University of Warsaw.

Legierski was an active member of a left-wing political party, the Greens, since its founding in 2004. He ran unsuccessfully, as a member of the Greens, in the 2005 and 2011 Polish parliamentary elections and in the 2004 and 2009 European Parliament elections. In 2010 he won a seat in the Warsaw City Council. After losing a bid to assume leadership of the Greens, Legierski left the party in 2011, citing internal disagreements over the question of potential coalition partners as his primary motivation. He was not reelected to the Warsaw City Council in 2014. In the 2015 parliamentary election, he ran as a candidate of the United Left, but the coalition did not cross the 8 percent threshold required to gain seats in Parliament.

Legierski’s political interests focus on LGBT rights, affordable housing, accessibility and structure of the public space, and civil society. As an activist, Legierski has been one of the most recognizable advocates of LGBT rights in Poland. He led an initiative to oppose the ban on the Warsaw Equality Parade, an annual LGBT rights event that the conservative authorities of Warsaw attempted to block in 2005. He was also actively involved in the unsuccessful effort to enable homosexual couples to form civil unions. Since 2009 he has been a supporter of a campaign to promote civil partnerships in Poland. The proposed law intends to protect the rights of

1950 - Houston, Charles Hamilton (1895-1950)

Charles Hamilton Houston, a renowned civil rights attorney, was widely recognized as the architect of the civil rights strategy that led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 decision, Brown v. Board of Education.  He was also a mentor to Thurgood Marshall who successfully litigated the pivotal Brown case.

Houston was born on September 3, 1895 in Washington, DC to parents William Houston, an attorney, and Mary Houston, a hairdresser and seamstress. He attended M Street High School (later Dunbar High School) in Washington, DC. Following graduation, he enrolled at Amherst College in Massachusetts where he was the only black student in his class. Houston was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the national honor society there. Upon graduating in 1915, he was selected to deliver that year’s valedictory address.

After graduating from Amherst, Houston returned to Washington.  He joined the U.S. Army in 1917 and was trained in the all-black officers training camp in Fort Des Moines, Iowa in 1917. Houston was later deployed to France. While there, Houston and his fellow black soldiers experienced racial discrimination which deepened his resolve to study law.

Following his military discharge in 1919, Houston entered Harvard Law School. He excelled in his studies and became the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review. As a law student, Houston was mentored by future Supreme Court Judge Felix Frankfurter. In 1922 as Houston graduated with high honors, Frankfurter nominated him for the prestigious Frederick Sheldon Fellowship, which allowed him to study law at the University of Madrid. 

Upon his return from Spain in 1924 Houston practiced law with his father, William, at Houston & Houston, and began teaching in Howard University Law’s evening program.  Eventually he became Dean of the Howard University Law School.

Houston’s legal accomplishments eventually captured the attention of Walter White, the chief executive of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1935 Houston was hired as Special

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