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Daniels, Hayzel B. (1913-1992)

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Hayzel B. Daniels (1913-1992) earned his B.S. in Social Sciences in 1939 and an M.A. in Education in 1941 from the University of Arizona.  He taught at Fort Huachuca, Arizona where his father was stationed with the 10th Cavalry.  Daniels served in the Army during World War II.  In 1948 he was the first African American to graduate from the University of Arizona Law School and be admitted to the Arizona State Bar.  Daniels opened a law office in Phoenix and became involved in politics and the NAACP.  In 1950 he and Carl Sims were the first Blacks elected to the Arizona legislature.  As a lawmaker and an attorney, Daniels fought against school segregation.  In June 1952 he argued successfully against school segregation in Phillips, et al. v. Phoenix Union High School District.  

In November of 1953, Daniels argued successfully against segregation in the (Phoenix) Wilson Elementary School District in Heard et al. v. Davis, et al.  Judge Charles C. Bernstein ruled in this case that segregation in public schools was an unconstitutional violation of the 14th Amendment.  The U.S. Supreme Court used Bernstein’s ruling to inform its landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.  Daniels went on to serve as the first black Assistant Arizona State Attorney General, and was appointed Phoenix City Court judge in 1965, becoming the first black judge in Arizona.  Daniels belonged to many organizations, including the Arizona Black Lawyers Association, which changed its name to the Hayzel B. Daniels Bar Association in 1993.

Sources:
The Arizona Republic, “A History of African-Americans in Arizona,” Cultures AZ African American, http://www.azcentral.com/culturesaz/afroam/afrohistory.html
Matthew C. Whitaker, Race Work: The Rise of Civil Rights in the Urban West (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005).

Contributor:

Arizona State University

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