Resource: Henry Hampton Collection: Interview of Herbert Brownell

By: Herbert Brownell, Henry Hampton Collection

November 15, 1985

Henry Hampton Collection: Washington University in St. Louis

This interview was done for Henry Hampton's Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years (1954-1965). Born in 1904, Herbert Brownell attended Yale Law School and began practicing law in New York City in 1927. He ran as the Republican candidate and was elected to the New York State Legislature in 1933. Eisenhower appointed Brownell Attorney General after his 1952 election. Brownell was key in selecting Earl Warren as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Warren would later oversee the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. Although Eisenhower was not prepared to say the federal government thought segregation unconstitutional Brownell was allowed to state his opinion as Attorney General and he believed such segregation to be, in fact, unconstitutional. Brownell wrote a civil rights bill in 1956 that would later become the 1957 Civil Rights Act. Following the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, Brownell resigned due to pressure from southerners in Congress angered by his consistent support of civil rights.;cc=eop;rgn=main;view=text;idno=bro0015.0437.014