Today, civil rights icon and legal pioneer Frankie Muse Freeman, turns 101 years old!
Since receiving her J.D. from Howard University School of Law, where she graduated second in her class in 1947, Freeman has blazed an incredible trail for present and future Black women lawyers. She went on to become one of the first Black women attorneys to practice law in Missouri. There, she led the landmark NAACP case against the St. Louis Housing Authority that ended legal discrimination in public housing in the city.
Over the span of Freeman’s 60-year law career, she became the first woman appointed to the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights, the 14th national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame, and served on a number of national and non-profit boards. She also has a key to the city of St. Louis and a star on its Walk of Fame.
Photo credit: Kae M. Petrin/St. Louis Public Radio
Now, in honor of her life’s work, the St. Louis City chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has dedicated a bronze statue in Freeman’s honor. It stands tall in Kiener Plaza, near the Old Courthouse.
Photo by: Laurie Skrivan
“I believe everybody has an individual responsibility,” St. Louis Public Radio reported Freeman saying in a 2009 interview played during the dedication ceremony. “American citizens, I love my country, and I think we have to work for it. And absolutely vote. Vote, and vote right.”
Ms. Freeman, your lifelong dedication to service is an inspiration to us all! Happy Birthday!