Mary Bethune: Adviser to Presidents

by Spencer Howard Mary McLeod Bethune was a prominent African-American educator and public servant in the early 20th century.  Born in South Carolina in 1875, she was the 15th of 17 children of former slaves Samuel and Patsy McLeod.  As a child she excelled in her studies at a mission school and won scholarships for … Continue reading Mary Bethune: Adviser to Presidents

Desegregating the Commerce Department

by Spencer Howard In 1928, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover took action for the civil rights of African Americans that was both momentous and ultimately trivial – he desegregated the Commerce Department. As his assistant, George Akerson pointed out, the official policy of the Coolidge Administration was that segregation was prohibited in Federal employment.  In … Continue reading Desegregating the Commerce Department