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

Virgil Lott, '53

Virgil Lott, 1953 Peregrinus
Virgil Lott,
1953 Peregrinus

An Austin native, Virgil C. Lott (August 22, 1924-April 16, 1968) graduated from L. C. Anderson High School in 1941. During World War II, he served the U.S. Army in England, France, and Belgium.

Following the war, Mr. Lott earned his bachelor of science degree in business administration from Samuel Huston College (now Huston-Tillotson University) in 1949. He attended Texas State University for Negroes Law School (now Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University) in Houston from 1949 to 1950.

Mr. Lott enrolled in the University of Texas School of Law in September 1950. He earned his law degree in January 1953, the first African American to graduate from the University of Texas School of Law. An Austin attorney, he was active in developing multi-family housing for low and moderate income families and served as attorney for David Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, a non-profit sponsor of local rent-supplemented housing. He also worked with St. Joseph Grand Masonic Lodge and Grant Chapel A.M.E. Church to develop housing.

Mr. Lott became the first African American to sit on the bench in Austin when he was appointed by the City Council to serve in Corporation Court during Judge Tom McFarling's absence in 1965.

A civic leader, Mr. Lott was the founding president of the Capital City Lions Club and finance chairman of the Eagles division of the Boy Scouts of America. He served on the Board of Trustees of Huston-Tillotson College, and as chairman of the building and grounds committee. As a member of Wesley Methodist Church, Mr. Lott served as the church's business manager and a member of its Board of Trustees.

The Virgil C. Lott Award is given by the University of Texas School of Law in recognition of significant contributions to the legal profession and to the improvement of understanding among all peoples. The Austin Black Lawyers Association has a scholarship named in Mr. Lott’s honor given to deserving high school seniors.