Hugo Lafayette Black

Hugo Lafayette Black

Ashland, Clay County, Alabama, USA
Death 25 Sep 1971 (aged 85)
Bethesda, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 30, Grave 649-LH
Memorial ID 97 · View Source
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United States Supreme Court Associate Justice, US Senator. The son of a former Confederate soldier, he was a native of Harlan, Alabama. He attended the University of Alabama, and received his law degree in 1906. He set up his practice in Birmingham but discontinued it when he was selected as a police court judge in 1910. He served as a county prosecutor until he joined the United States Army after the country entered World War I. He became a member of the 81st Field Artillery which served its entire tour of duty without leaving the country. After his discharge, he resumed his legal practice in Birmingham. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1926. He led the drive in the Senate for the Fair Labor Standards. He was one of FDR's biggest supporters in the Senate and approved of the President's idea to pack the Supreme Court. He was appointed by FDR to the court, when Justice Willis Van Devanter retired in 1937. As he was a member of the Senate, his nomination was confirmed without any problems. He came under fire however, when it was learned that he had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan. In a nationally broadcast radio statement, he acknowledged that he had indeed been a member of the Klan, but said that he had resigned many years earlier, before his election to the Senate. After the broadcast, he never made any further comment on the subject. The controversy faded away and his position on the Court was never challenged again. He became known as a strong advocate for the absolute authority of the Bill of Rights, especially the freedom of speech. He always carried his well-thumbed copy of the Constitution in his pocket. In 1971, his last major opinion upheld the right of The New York Times to publish the so-called "Pentagon Papers." Sadly he suffered from ill health during the later years of his life, and was forced to resign from the Court on September 17, 1971. His 34 years of service being the third longest in the nation's history. He died eight days later at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Per his wishes, he rests under a simple regulation tombstone as does his wife Josephine Foster Black, who had served in the Navy during World War I. In between the stones is a small marble bench inscribed with the simple epitaph: "Here lies a good man."

Bio by: Ugaalltheway

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 97
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Hugo Lafayette Black (27 Feb 1886–25 Sep 1971), Find a Grave Memorial no. 97, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .