1938 November 22

Eleanor Roosevelt Integrates Birmingham, Alabama


First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt violated racial segregation laws in Birmingham, Alabama, by integrating the meeting of the Southern Conference for Human Welfare. At the first day of the conference, white and African-American delegates mixed freely. Someone reported this to local authorities. City Commissioner Eugene Connor ordered the conference to be segregated the following day. Eleanor refused to comply and placed her chair squarely between the separated white and African-American sections.

Connor became infamous as “Bull” Connor in the 1963 civil rights demonstrations in Birmingham, when he used fire hoses and police dogs against civil rights demonstrators. See May 3, 1963, for the notorious use of police dogs and fire hoses against civil rights demonstrators.

Learn more about Eleanor Roosevelt: Blanche Wiesen Cook, Eleanor Roosevelt (1992)

See and hear Eleanor Roosevelt on human rights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yzakVOdh6k

Learn more about Eleanor Roosevelt as First Lady: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/first-ladies/eleanorroosevelt

Read her essays and speeches: Allida M. Black, ed., Courage in a Dangerous World: the Political Writings of Eleanor Roosevelt (1999)


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