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The Honorable Frankie Freeman

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Information about The Honorable Frankie Freeman

Profile image of The Honorable Frankie Freeman

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Lawyer
Municipal Court Judge

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Soul Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere Warm, Cape Town, South Africa
Favorite Quote:
Do Your Homework.

Birthplace

Born:
11/24/1916
Birth Location:
Danville, Virginia

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Lawyer
Municipal Court Judge

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Soul Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere Warm, Cape Town, South Africa
Favorite Quote:
Do Your Homework.

Birthplace

Born:
11/24/1916
Birth Location:
Danville
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Biography

Civil rights lawyer, Frankie Muse Freeman was born Marie Frankie Muse on November 24, 1916 in Danville, Virginia. Her parents, Maude Beatrice Smith Muse and William Brown Muse, came from college-educated families. Her relatives included Charles Sumner Muse, Edward Muse and Clarence Muse. Freeman grew up in Danville where she attended Westmoreland School and learned to play the piano. At age sixteen, Freeman enrolled in her mother’s alma mater, Hampton Institute, which she attended between 1933 and 1936. While in New York, Freeman met and married Shelby T. Freeman. In 1944, she was admitted to Howard University Law School where William H. Hastie and Spottswood Robinson were on the faculty. Freeman graduated second in her class in 1947.

Upon graduating from law school, Freeman set up her law offices in the Jefferson Bank Building in June of 1949 and became engaged in the Civil Rights Movement. Freeman was a part of an NAACP legal brain trust, which included Sidney Redmond, Robert Witherspoon and Henry Espy in the NAACP’s 1949 Brewton v. the Board of Education of St. Louis, following the case to victory in the Supreme Court of the State of Missouri. In 1954, the same year as Brown v. the Board of Education, Freeman was the lead attorney for the landmark NAACP case Davis et al v. the St. Louis Housing Authority, which ended legal racial discrimination in public housing. In 1955, Freeman became the first associate general counsel of the St. Louis Housing Authority and Land Clearance Authority. In 1958, she became a charter member of the Missouri advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Freeman provided NAACP counsel to CORE activists demonstrating against hiring discrimination policies at Jefferson Bank. In March of 1964, she was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson as the first female member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Freeman served as a commissioner for sixteen years, and later as Inspector General for the Community Services Administration during the Carter Administration. Freeman was also a municipal court judge in the early 1970s. In 1982, Freeman helped form a bipartisan Citizens Commission on Civil Rights to monitor the federal government’s enforcement of laws barring discrimination. Freeman was a practicing attorney for more than fifty years.

Freeman was a Trustee Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of Howard University, past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Council on Aging, Inc. and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. She was also a board member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis, the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District and the St. Louis Center for International Relations. She was the author of A Song of Faith and Hope: The Life of Frankie Muse Freeman and past national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Freeman also received several honorary doctorate degrees from institutions that include Hampton University, Washington University and Howard University. She was inducted into the National Bar Association’s Hall of Fame in 1990.

Freeman passed away on January 12, 2018 at age 101.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Frankie Freeman
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls the black businesses in Danville, Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about her mother's education and profession
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers her paternal grandfather, Frank Muse
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls the independence of the black community in Danville, Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her father's education and profession
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls how her parents met and married
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman lists her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her neighborhood in Danville, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers segregation in Danville, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her early musical talents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her early education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her decision to attend the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her experience at the Hampton Institute
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers African American lawyer Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman shares a story about the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls applying to St. John's College of Law in New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers meeting her husband, Shelby Freeman, Jr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Frankie Muse Freeman recalls her decision to apply to Howard University Law School in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her acceptance to Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers registering for her final year of law school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls graduating from Howard University School of Law
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers her mentors at Howard University School of Law
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about starting her law firm in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers the Jefferson Bank and Trust Company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls other black female professionals in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers Brewten v. the Board of Education of St. Louis, 1950
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about Davis et al. v. the St. Louis Housing Authority, 1955
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers Constance Baker Motley
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her position as a Missouri assistant attorney general
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls being hired by the St. Louis Housing Authority
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers the effects of Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, 1954 in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers notable civil rights attorneys
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about desegregation in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers the Pruitt Igoe housing project in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about her activism in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her nomination to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her U.S. Senate confirmation to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers her first hearing for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her experience at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman reflects upon the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers President Lyndon Baines Johnson's administration
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about the importance of affirmative action
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her presidency of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers President Richard Milhous Nixon's administration
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls leaving the St. Louis Housing Authority
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman reflects upon President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.'s administration
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her work for Native American rights
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers her discrimination case against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her appointment as inspector general for the Community Services Administration
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls her dismissal as inspector general for the Community Services Administration
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about the mismanagement of funds in public agencies
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers William Clay, Sr.'s congressional election
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman recalls forming the Citizens Commission on Civil Rights
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers Clarence Thomas' nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman remembers Clarence Thomas' nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about her work in private practice
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes her family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 12 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman talks about her organizational involvement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 13 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman narrates her photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Frankie Freeman narrates her photographs, pt. 2