1934 March 21

Rep. Oscar De Priest Challenges Segregation at Capitol Building Restaurant


Representative Oscar De Priest (R–Illinois) on this day challenged racial segregation in the Capitol Building restaurant. Segregationist House Democrats were able to stop De Priest by arguing that the House restaurant should not be open to the public. During three terms in Congress, 1929–1935,

De Priest was the only African-American in Congress. Racists had loudly protested when his wife, Jessie De Priest, went to tea at the White House on June 12, 1929, at the invitation of First Lady Lou Henry Hoover.

Learn More at Black Americans in Congress: http://history.house.gov/People/Search?filter=1

Watch a documentary featuring Oscar and Jessie De Priest’ great-grandson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_vBazXlmyQ

Learn more: U.S. Congress, Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007 (2008)

Learn more about African American history: Henry Louis Gates, Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008 (2011)

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