New Jersey Department of Education

DOE A to Z: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #


DATE: November 20, 2006
CONTACT: Anthony Coley 
Brendan Gilfillan 
PHONE: 609-777-2600

Deparment of EducationBuilding is Dedicated to
Judge Robert L. Carter

TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of Education building at 100 Riverview Plaza in Trenton was dedicated today to honor U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Carter, a pioneering civil rights attorney and one of the architects of the NAACP’s legal strategy in the Brown v. Board of Education case, which outlawed segregation in public schools.

Judge Carter, 89, was born in Florida, but his family moved to New Jersey shortly after his birth.  He was raised in Newark and East Orange, and graduated from Barringer High School in Newark.

“Judge Carter is a brave champion of civil rights, whose courageous legal battle and illustrious career exemplify the qualities that have put our state at the forefront of education reform,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine, who spoke at the ceremony at the DOE building. “The dedication of this building will serve as an important reminder of his legacy and commitment to providing all of our children with nothing less than the very best.”

Also speaking at the ceremony were U.S. Representative Donald M. Payne, Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells, Education Commissioner Lucille E. Davy, New Jersey State Board of Education President Dr. Arnold Hyndman, New Jersey State NAACP President James Harris and Theodore M. Shaw, the Director-Counsel and President of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

A graduate of Lincoln University (which he entered at age 16), Judge Carter is also a graduate of Howard University Law School and holds a Master of Laws degree from Columbia Law School.

During his career, Judge Carter played a leading role in crafting and litigating many of the most significant legal cases of the civil rights era.

After leaving military service in 1944, he joined future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall on the NAACP legal staff.  Within a year, he had become an assistant special counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and in 1956, he succeeded Marshall as general counsel to the LDF.  He won 21 of the 22 cases he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, including Brown and NAACP v. Alabama.

Judge Carter left the NAACP in 1968 to join a private law firm, but remained active in public affairs and was a co-founder of the National Conference of Black Lawyers.  In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon appointed him to the federal bench, where he continues to serve today.