1955 July 10

E. Frederic Morrow Becomes First African-American Presidential Aide

 

E. Frederic Morrow moved to the White House on this day to become an aide to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and as such he became the first African-American to serve in that capacity. His autobiography vividly describes his difficulties in trying to persuade the administration to take a strong stand on civil rights. Morrow, for example, tried unsuccessfully to get President Eisenhower to issue a statement regarding the brutal murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American, in Mississippi on August 28, 1955. He did, however, finally convince Eisenhower to meet with civil rights leaders in the White House, a meeting that occurred on June 23, 1958.

Read Morrow’s autobiography: E. Frederic Morrow, Black Man in the White House (1963)

Learn more about President Eisenhower: Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower (1983)

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