Headshot of Attorney Floyd McKissick SR

Attorney Floyd Bixler McKissick graduated from Morehouse in 1948 and began pursuing his career in law by first applying to the University of North Carolina School of Law. After being denied admission based on his race, he enrolled in the North Carolina College School of Law and with the help of the NAACP filed a lawsuit against UNC.

With a defense led by Thurgood Marshall, McKissick and three other students were admitted to UNC Law School as a result of that case. He was the first African-American student to be admitted at UNC Law School. After graduating, McKissick established a law firm in Durham, North Carolina in 1955. He became the leader of the Congress of Racial Equality in 1966.

His law firm in Durham primarily focused on civil rights issues with clients including the first black undergraduate student to attend UNC-Chapel Hill in 1955. He went on to defend sit-in protesters in Durham in 1957, as well as families who integrated the Durham City school system in 1959. He was involved with a segregated black local in the tobacco workers' international. He earned a reputation as a leader in the community and as someone who fought hard for the justice and rights of his clients in North Carolina.

Equal rights, justice and compassion for all.

Over the course of his life, Floyd McKissick Sr. remained involved with the civil rights movement. He managed legal affairs for CORE and the NAACP and was later elected as national chairman of CORE in 1963.

In 1966, McKissick took over as the head of CORE. The organization experienced a major change as a result of his leadership due to a new focus on becoming assertive advocates for black power’s ideology. Along with other prominent leaders in the civil rights movement, including Martin Luther King Jr., he assisted with the remaining demonstration march over the course of 194 miles.

He remained active as a civil rights leader and was appointed as a state district court judge in 1990 to the Ninth Judicial District in North Carolina. He also became pastor of the First Baptist Church in Soul City, North Carolina. He passed away in 1991, but his sons carry on  Floyd McKissick Sr.’s legacy of representing equal rights for all by fighting hard for the firm’s clients.


  • North Carolina


  • Morehouse

  • University of North Carolina Law School