Growing up in the Jim Crow-era South, Frankie Freeman learned lessons about discrimination. She walked places rather than take the segregated streetcar; she felt hurts and vowed privately never to forget. But in her loving family, she also learned positive lessons about living: work hard, get an education, fight injustice, and make a difference. Freeman took all these lessons to Hampton Institute, to Howard University law school, then to her career as a St. Louis civil rights attorney, winning a landmark victory in the area of fair housing. In 1964, she became the first woman appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, leaving in 1979 to serve as inspector general of the Community Services Administration. During these years, she was also St. Louis Housing Authority general counsel - and lost her job amid bitter controversy stirred up by a commission hearing in St. Louis County. This memoir tells the story of Frankie Freeman's life and career. There were high points, such as meetings with President Lyndon Johnson, historic commission hearings, and her national presidency of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. There were also difficult times, such as the illness and death of her husband and son. Through it all, she continued to fight for what she believed in; she kept her faith - and carried on.
Frankie Freeman was born in 1916 in Danville, Virginia. She earned her law degree from Howard University and in 1964 was the first woman appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, where she served for sixteen years. A practicing lawyer for more than fifty years, Freeman is now a member of the St. Louis law firm Montgomery Hollie and Associates, L.L.C.Candace O'Connor is a St. Louis writer who has written for magazines and newspapers and scripted and coproduced a PBS documentary, Oh Freedom After While.