President William Taft nominates Robert Herberton Terrell to be a judge of the District of Columbia municipal court despite protest to appoint a Black person by the senate.
1910 (Jan 15)
President William Taft nominated Robert Herberton Terrell to be a judge of the municipal court of the District of Columbia. With the help of Booker T. Washington, Terrell was able to secure the position even though the senate protested the appointment of a Black to the post. Nine years earlier, Washington had been instrumental in Terrell's appointment as justice of the peace in the District of Columbia. But Terrell was not a wholehearted follower of Washington. He openly criticized Washington's condonation of the dishonorable discharge, in 1906, of the 25th Black infantry after the Brownsville, Texas, riot. Terrell pushed for the civil rights that he believed in through the grand united order of old fellows of the District of Columbia, of which he was the grand master. Terrell and others established a chapter of the Sigma Pi Phi fraternity in the District of Columbia. Terrell was born to Harris and Louisa Ann Terrell in Charlottesville, Virginia, on November 27, 1957. He had attended a District of Columbia school and the Groton Academy in Groton, Massachusetts, for his early education. In June of 1884 he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, and Howard University Law School granted him an LL.B. degree in 1889. Terrell married Mary E. Church on October 28, 1891; they had two daughters. On December 20, 1925, Terrell died at his home in Washington, D.C. He was buried in Harmony Cemetery in Washington.