The Glover Report: A Son of the Goon Squad: The Life and Times of Judge Joseph C. Howard, Sr. As Told By His Son
By Doni Glover, www.bmorenews.com
(BALTIMORE – October 10, 2012) – This is an introduction to a SPECIAL Series produced by BMORENEWS.com on the life and times of Judge Joseph C. Howard, Sr., an original member of the Goon Squad. The Goon Squad was a group of black leaders in Baltimore who met at Union Baptist Church where Rev. Vernon Dobson was the pastor.
Who comprised this group of extraordinary men? Former Maryland Delegate Wendell Phillips tells the story best in his brilliant dedication piece, The Goon Squad (Take 1): “Let me sing their names: of course my dad, the late Rev. Wendell H. Phillips, the late Rev. Frank L. Williams, Revs. Vernon & the late Harold Dobson, the late Rev. Marion C. Bascom, the late Congressman Parren J. Mitchell, the late Prof. Augustus “Gus” Adair, the late Judge Joseph C. Howard, Prof. O. Patrick Scott, Attorney Lalit Gadhia and Dr. Homer Favor. Frank Williams, a few years their senior, was the Professor X to their X-Men, if you will. These were my Saturday cartoon Superheroes. They weren’t mutants with extraordinary powers but ordinary men called to do extraordinary things with the help of their God. These eleven men comprised what became known as Baltimore City’s ‘Goon Squad’.”
Having met Judge Howard’s son – and understanding the significance of his father’s contributions, we agreed to bring light to the life and times of one of the most extra special black men in history: an athlete, a soldier, a frat, a lawyer, a judge, an America. According to his son, Joseph Howard, Jr., Judge Howard carried an incredible responsibility on his shoulders. By all accounts, he represented his family and his African American community well.
This is his biography:
JOSEPH C. HOWARD SR.
SENIOR JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
Joseph C. Howard Sr. was born in Des Moines, Iowa on December 9, 1922 to Charles and Maude Howard. He was raised in Des Moines with his two brothers, Charles and Lawrence, and was educated in the Des Moines Public Schools.
After graduation, he enrolled in Officer's Candidate School, Bomber Base, Lake Pontchatrain, Louisiana in 1943 and upon its completion he enlisted in the United States Army on June 3, 1944. He was honorably discharged as a captain.
In 1946, he entered the University of Iowa where he graduated with his B.A. in 1950. He then entered the University of Washington Law School from 1950-51 and later transferred to Drake University where he completed his LL.B. in 1955. While at Drake in 1952, Howard became the first African-American to be admitted to Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity. Later he met and married Gwendolyn Mae London in 1955. He received his M.A. in 1957 from Drake University and his J.D. in 1968.
After the birth of his son, Joseph Jr., he relocated his family to Baltimore, Md. After passing the Maryland Bar in 1959, he became a founding partner in the law firm of Howard & Hargrove, with his brother Charles (1960-64). In 1964, he became an Assistant State's Attorney and, in 1966, became the first African-American to be Chief of the Trial Section for the State's Attorney's Office for Baltimore, Md. In 1967, he was appointed Assistant City Solicitor for Baltimore City.
His pursuit of equal justice prompted him to research and publish his results about the sentencing in the administration of rape cases in early 1968. That scholarship catapulted him into the race for Judge of the Baltimore City Supreme Bench. He won the election and served with distinction until 1979 when he was appointed to the U.S. Federal Bench by President Jimmy Carter.
Judge Howard's career highlights are numerous. In addition to his many firsts, he was the first African-American appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Maryland in 1979 and in the same year he became the first African-American to sit by designation on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. He was the first African-American United States District Court Judge to have his portrait hung in the Baltimore City Garmatz Federal Courthouse. He was also a founder and second chairman of the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association.
Judge Howard lectured across the country at such schools as the Graduate School of State Trial Judges in Reno, Nevada, Johns Hopkins University and the National College of District Attorneys at the University of Houston. The Judge has been published in numerous articles such as the "Report of the Task Force of the U.S. Department of Defense on the Administration of Military Justice in the Armed Forces", published by the Department of Defense, 1973. "Racial Discrimination in Sentencing", October 1975 issue of JUDICATURE Magazine and "The Criminal Justice System in the People's Republic of China: Some observations", written for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, National Institute of Mental Health, 1977, published by the Maryland Judicial Conference, 1978, to name a few.
Judge Howard has served on many boards and in organizations both local and national such as the National Bar Association, Antioch College, The Legal Aide Bureau and the Maryland Branch of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He has received honorary degrees from Morgan State University and Sojourner-Douglass College and numerous awards from many organizations such as the Afro American Newspaper, Delta Sigma Theta, Benjamin Banneker Society, Henry McNeil Turner Society, National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc. and the N.A.A.C.P. to name a few.