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Segregation Protest

J. Skelly Wright Digital Exhibit

James Skelly Wright, a native son of New Orleans, was appointed to the federal bench at 38 in 1948 and guided a resistant Louisiana to integrate its education and transportation systems. He later served on the U.S. District of Columbia Court of Appeals for over 26 years, including as Chief Judge.

Wright's life both on and off the bench was rife with notable historical events including rulings on many desegregation cases, the Pentagon Papers case, campaign finance, serving on a Coast Guard vessel that sank a German U-boat, assisting in prosecuting public corruption and the mafia in the 1930's, and serving as appellant counsel in a horrific 1940's death penalty case that was later turned into a movie.