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Distributed for Missouri Historical Society Press

A Song of Faith and Hope

The Life of Frankie Muse Freeman

Growing up in the Jim Crow–era South, Frankie Freeman learned lessons about discrimination. She walked places rather than take the segregated streetcar; she felt hurts and vowed privately never to forget. But in her loving family, she also learned positive lessons about living: work hard, get an education, fight injustice, and make a difference.
            Freeman took all these lessons to Hampton Institute, to Howard University law school, then to her career as a St. Louis civil rights attorney, winning a landmark victory in the area of fair housing. In 1964, she became the first woman appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, leaving in 1979 to serve as inspector general of the Community Services Administration. During these years, she was also St. Louis Housing Authority general counsel—and lost her job amid bitter controversy stirred up by a commission hearing in St. Louis County.
            This memoir tells the story of Frankie Freeman’s life and career. There were high points, such as meetings with President Lyndon Johnson, historic commission hearings, and her national presidency of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. There were also difficult times, such as the illness and death of her husband and son. Through it all, she continued to fight for what she believed in; she kept her faith—and carried on.

190 pages | 85 illus | 6 x 9 | © 2003

Biography and Letters

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Dorothy I. Height
Foreword by Robert R. Archibald

1. Well with My Soul: Growing Up in Danville, 1916–33
2. Doing My Homework: From Hampton to Howard, 1933–47
3. “I Am a Lawyer”: Settling in St. Louis, 1947–51
4. Fighting for Fair Housing in St. Louis, 1952–63
5. Joining the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1964–65
6. An Era of Civil Rights Action, 1966–71
7. My Last Years on the Commission, 1972–78
8. Inspector General—Briefly, 1979–81
9. Home Again, 1981–present


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