1929 June 12

Mrs. Hoover Invites African-American to White House Tea, Uproar Follows


Lou Henry Hoover, wife of President Herbert Hoover, sparked a racist uproar when she invited Jessie De Priest, wife of an African-American member of the House, Oscar De Priest (R–Illinois), to tea at the White House. President Hoover was upset at the protests and responded by inviting Robert Moton, president of Tuskegee University and one of the most prominent African-Americans leaders in the country, to the White House for a meeting.

Oscar De Priest became a member of the House of Representatives on March 4, 1929, the first African-American elected since Reconstruction. On March 21, 1934, he challenged racial segregation in the Congressional cafeteria.

Learn about Lou Henry Hoover and the incident: http://www.whitehousehistory.org/whha_shows/depriest-tea-incident/first-lady-lou-hoover.html

Learn more: Nancy Young, Lou Henry Hoover: Activist First Lady (2004)

Learn more about Lou Henry Hoover, President Hoover, and civil liberties: Samuel Walker, Presidents and Civil Liberties From Wilson to Obama (2012)

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