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

John Phillip Crawford, '57

John Phillip Crawford, 1957 Peregrinus
John Phillip Crawford,
1957 Peregrinus

John Phillip Crawford (May 17, 1929-April 3, 1996) grew up in Texarkana, Texas. He attended Prairie View A&M University before earning his bachelor’s degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1952. Following graduation, he served in the Korean War as a Second Lieutenant with the U.S. Army Second Infantry Division. Mr. Crawford enrolled in the University of Texas School of Law in 1954 and earned his LL.B. in 1957.

After graduation, he was a partner in the firm of Lott & Crawford with Virgil Lott. In 1963, he became an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Texas, the first African American to hold the position. He left the Attorney General’s Office in 1969 to work with the Gary Job Corps, beginning as Assistant Center Director before serving as Acting Director of Education and Training, and Center Director. Mr. Crawford continued to serve as a consultant after he returned to private practice in 1972.

Mr. Crawford was a member of the Travis County Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas, as well as being the first African American to be admitted to the Travis County Junior Bar Association. Mr. Crawford was a longtime member of the Saint James Episcopal Church in Austin, where he served on the Bishop’s Committee. He was also active in the Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.