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The First African American Graduates of the University of Texas School of Law

George Washington, Jr., '54

George Washington, Jr., 1954 Peregrinus
George Washington, Jr.,
1954 Peregrinus

George Washington, Jr., (July 6, 1929-August 5, 2005) was born in Dallas. He attended Lincoln High School and earned a bachelor of political science from Samuel Huston College (now Huston-Tillotson University) in 1950.

As a college student, he watched the arguments in Heman Sweatt's case at the Travis County Courthouse. Mr. Washington entered the University of Texas School of Law in September 1950 as one of its first six attendees. While a law student, he served as an editorial assistant on the Peregrinus yearbook staff. He earned his LL.B. in January 1954. After graduation, Mr. Washington entered the U.S. Army and served in Japan. He was honorably discharged in 1957 as a sergeant.

In 1959, Mr. Washington opened the law firm of Washington & Jefferson, Attorneys at Law in Houston with Andrew Jefferson, a 1959 University of Texas School of Law graduate. Hamah King joined the firm in the fall of 1960. Mr. Jefferson left soon after for a position as assistant district attorney in San Antonio. Otis King, Hamah’s younger brother, joined the firm in 1961. The firm of Washington & King represented students arrested during sit-in demonstrations, paying the students’ bail with funds raised by the Harris County Council of Organizations.  The firm handled hundreds of civil rights cases in the early 1960s challenging segregation in the Houston area.

As a research associate for San Antonio’s HemisFair Exposition during the late 1960s, he developed the first exhibit for the Black Texans Area at the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio.

In 1972, Mr. Washington became the first African-American Assistant District Attorney in Dallas County, where he was assigned to the appellate and civil division.

Mr. Washington joined the faculty of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in 1974.