11:02 AM / Tuesday June 2, 2020

31 Jul 2011

Civil rights activist and former NAACP attorney to receive Association’s highest honor

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
July 31, 2011 Category: Stateside Posted by:



Baltimore, MD–The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People National Board of Directors announced that attorney Frankie Muse Freeman will be honored with the Association’s Spingarn Medal, the NAACP’s highest honor. Freeman will become the 96th recipient of the award, and she will be honored during the NAACP National Convention in Los Angeles July 28 at the annual Spingarn Dinner.


The Spingarn Medal, instituted in 1914 by then-NAACP Chairman Joel E. Spingarn, is awarded for outstanding and noble achievement by an American of African descent during the preceding years


“Frankie Muse Freeman has dedicated her life’s work to the civil rights movement,” stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “She broke down barriers as a member of the NAACP’s brain trust during the 1950s and as the first woman to serve on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Her determination to end racial discrimination in American society for more than half a century serves as an inspiration to us all.


Freeman has been a practicing attorney in state and federal courts for more than 60 years. After graduating Hampton Institute and Howard University Law School, she began her career serving the state of Missouri and the city of St. Louis. During this time she helped the NAACP in the case of Brewton v. Board of Education of St. Louis, and later represented the NAACP in the landmark case Davis et al v. the St. Louis Housing Authority, which ended legal racial discrimination in public housing.


“We are honored to give Frankie Muse Freeman the highest award that our 102-year old organization can bestow,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “As a premiere advocate for African Americans over the past six decades, Freeman embodies the NAACP’s core values. Her record of success is a testament to her competence and resolve.”


“I have been a member and engaged with the NAACP for more than 60 years,” said Frankie Muse Freeman. “It is with a great sense of pride and humility that I accept the 96th NAACP Spingarn Award to be presented on July 28, 2011, during the 102nd Annual NAACP Convention in Los Angeles, California.”


In March 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated Freeman as the first woman to serve as Commissioner of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, a federal body that investigates complaints alleging discrimination. Freeman served on the commission for 16 years, subsequently reappointed by Presidents Nixon, Ford and Carter, until July 1980. She also served as Inspector General of the Community Services Administration during the Carter Administration. In 2003, Freeman published a memoir, A Song of Faith and Hope: The Life of Frankie Muse Freeman.



“This year’s Spingarn Medalist, Mrs. Frankie Muse Freeman, who was a practicing attorney for more than sixty years, has had a career of singular accomplishment from her appointment by the late president Lyndon B. Johnson as the first woman to serve on the United States Civil Rights Commission, a post she held for 16 years, to successfully representing the NAACP in landmark cases re segregation in education and housing,” added Jesse Turner Jr., Treasurer of the NAACP Board of Directors and Chairman of the NAACP Spingarn Committee. “Throughout her career she has been a devoted NAACP civil rights leader and acclaimed for her continuing outstanding community service. The 96th NAACP Spingarn Award is a richly deserved tribute, which we are proud to bestow upon her.”


Freeman has received numerous accolades for her life’s work, including a number of honorary degrees and induction into the National Bar Association’s Hall of Fame and the international Civil Rights Walk of Fame. She has a distinguished history of volunteer service. She is past chair of the Board of Directors of the National Council on the Aging, Inc. and serves on the executive committee of the St. Louis City NAACP, and many other organizations.


To date, 95 Spingarn Medals have been awarded, recognizing achievements in a range of fields. Medalists include Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), former U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, media personality Oprah Winfrey, baseball hall of famer Henry “Hank” Aaron, Vernon Jordan, U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), William H. Cosby, Jr., Maya Angelou, Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Percy E. Sutton, Gordon Parks, John Hope Franklin, the late Judge Leon Higginbotham Jr., Carl Rowan, NAACP Chairman Emeriti Julian Bond and Myrlie Evers-Williams, businessman and publisher Earl G. Graves, Sr., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., artist Jacob Lawrence, Rosa Parks, opera singer Leontyne Price, Judge Constance Baker Motley, Judge Robert L. Carter, and the late Oliver W. Hill, Sr.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News


Risks complicate reopenings as WHO warns 1st wave not over

May 29, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: In this image provided by the New York Stock Exchange, New...


In a recent inter-continental video conference, Ghanaian and U.S. leaders are named to the board of The Collaboration for IT and Communications Excellence

May 29, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email A group of business, professional, academic, civic and public-sector leaders from Northern and...

Go With The-Flo

Meghan The Stallion has partnered with Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty line for its summer campaign

May 29, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Meghan The Stallion (Photo: lev radin / Shutterstock) By Florence Anthony...

Week In Review

11-year-old girl says racism behind white woman’s assault

May 29, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: This photo provided by Attorney Justin T. Bamberg shows Skhylur Davis....

Sun Report

The Very First Memorial Day

May 29, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email The tradition of Memorial Day began on May 1, 1865, in Charleston, South...


Malcolm Jenkins to deliver commencement address for School District of Philadelphia’s virtual graduation ceremony

May 29, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email The two-time Super Bowl champion will share words of wisdom during special event...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff