Charles Bush, First African American Supreme Court Page Was the Subject of the Annual Ken Smith Luncheon

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Ken Smith helped to launch the U.S. Capitol Page Alumni Association as the lead organizer of the 2008 Page Reunion, and every October would organize a Friday luncheon for Washington, D.C.-area alumni. Since his death, the alumni association has continued this tradition.

October 16, the Annual Ken Smith Memorial Luncheon moved online… because it was 2020 and that’s what one had to do in 2020!

Todd C. Peppers, who holds a doctorate in political science from Emory University in Atlanta and is the Henry H. & Trudye H. Fowler Professor of Public Affairs at Roanoke College, was the featured speaker. Much of Peppers’ published writing addresses the Supreme Court and especially the evolution of its clerkships. His current research is about the African American Supreme Court Pages, focusing on the appointment in 1954 of the first, Charles Bush.

“I love stories about breaking the glass ceilings,” Peppers said in a November telephone interview. “It’s a pleasure to discover them.”

Supreme Court Pages’ experience differed from congressional Pages, Peppers said, because there were only four of them at a time for the nine justices, instead of a hundred senators or hundreds of representatives. He also learned that Supreme Court Page appointments often were a way to help support widows in the District of Columbia, which was true of some congressional Pages too, but who more often were more likely to be drawn from across the country.

Peppers said that he enjoys doing such presentations, because it can lead to new discoveries, sometimes because an audience member will have more information about that day’s topic and call out of the blue to contribute information about the subject.

Hoping that members of the alumni association might be able to help further his research, he’s seeking photographs from Supreme Court Pages in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.

You may contact Dr. Todd C. Peppers by email at

To view a recording of the Annual Ken Smith Memorial Luncheon, please click here and enter password: capitolpage
* please note: Dr. Peppers begins speaking at minute 7:15.


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