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Judge Robert Watts interview


Judge Robert B. Watts (1922-1998) was a veteran, civil rights activist, and lawyer for the Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He helped found the first Black law firm in Maryland, Brown, Allen, & Watts. In 1960, Watts became the first Black judge to be appointed to the Municipal Court of Baltimore City and in 1968, he was selected to be a judge on the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. In this oral history interview, Watts provides his impressions of freedom fighter Lillie May Carroll Jackson, with whom he closely worked; Charles Houston, special counsel to the NAACP; and Theodore McKeldin, who had served as Mayor of Baltimore and Governor of Maryland. Watts discusses the consequences of the 1954 Supreme Court decision, which declared segregation in schools to be a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, and elaborates on his and Jackson’s mission to ensure the enforcement of the law in Baltimore City schools.




Contributor(s) Notes

Narrator: Robert B. Watts
Interviewer: Richard Richardson

Production Note

The McKeldin-Jackson Project was an effort to examine the Maryland civil rights movement of the mid-20th century through the medium of oral history by focusing on the roles played by pioneering freedom fighter Lillie May Carroll Jackson and Theodore R. McKeldin, who was Mayor of Baltimore (1943-1947, 1963-1967), Governor of Maryland (1951-1959), and an advocate for civil rights. The project was sponsored by the Maryland Historical Society and was supported in part by a grant from the Maryland Committee for the Humanities and Public Policy.


Object ID

OH 8102


Audio: 66 minutes
Transcript: 41 pages

Catalog Number

OH 8102

Resource ID


Digital Publisher

Digital resource provided by the Maryland Center for History and Culture


This digital material is made available here for private study, scholarship, and research. Commercial and other uses are prohibited without the permission of the Maryland Center for History and Culture. For more information, visit the MCHC’s Reproductions and Permissions web page.