Interview with William Coleman
QUESTION 2
INTERVIEWER:

WHAT DID YOU TALK ABOUT AMONGST—YOU AND OTHER BLACK LAWYERS? DID YOU SITTING AROUND TALKING ABOUT PUTTING THESE CASES TOGETHER AND DID YOU TALK ABOUT LEAVING AMERICA…

William Coleman:

Oh, no. This, this was our country. We, we didn't talk about leaving this country. We always talked about improving this country. Uh, I think that history has to really go back to probably, uh, 1936 when uh, Charles Houston, a brilliant lawyer, who finished the Harvard Law School. Bill Hasting who finished the Harvard Law School and some other lawyers, decided to begin an attack on how to break down segregation in this country. And at that time they began to bring lawsuits. The first suit was a case called Gadge which involved the issue of whether a black who lived in Missouri had the right to go to University of Missouri law school. And the court, the court held that he did. And thereafter they began the strategy of what instance could you put to the Supreme Court stage where the Supreme Court would say that segregation was improper and the strategy was to always put a case where they could say that that in this instance segregation was impossible even though they would not at that point, had outlawed segregation completely. And that was the strategy from 1936 until 19—uh '48 when Thurgood Marshall and others made the fundamental determination that now we were going to attack head on segregation in the public schools.