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Celebrating Black History Month

The Senate Debates Civil Rights

A number of interviews in the collection describe the epic battle for civil rights that took place in the Senate. See the following interviews:

            Richard A. Arenberg, 70, 194
            Roy L. Elson, 34, 54-55, 60, 71, 75-76, 78, 90, 170, 181, 232, 286
            Charles Ferris 10-12, 15, 19, 21-22, 25, 30-53, 63, 67-68, 80, 88, 92, 123, 141, 146, 154-55
            William F. Hildenbrand, 36-37, 66-67, 75, 80-84, 114, 123, 127-28, 140, 208-9, 269
            F. Nordy Hoffman, 110-15, 122-23, 172
            J. Keith Kennedy, 2, 14-15
            Joseph Stanley Kimmitt, 37, 44, 65, 71, 80, 82
            Christine S. McCreary, 15-20, 26-27
            Jesse R. Nichols, 12-13, 58, 81
            Warren Featherstone Reid, 66
            Floyd M. Riddick, 161, 207, 394
            Dorothye G. Scott, 103-4, 124, 150
            George Tames, 4-5, 18, 99, 155
            Francis R. Valeo, 233-37, 259, 292, 305-32, 335-344, 353, 414, 427, 443, 605, 607, 675, 681-82, 749-50, 775, 853, 865
            J. Robert Vastine, 31
            Jerry T. Verkler, 41, 47-48, 51

mccreary1Christine S. McCreary
Staff of Senator Stuart Symington, 1953-1977 and Senator John Glenn, 1977-1998

In her 45 years of service, Christine McCreary saw great changes in the Senate and in Washington, D.C. She came to the capital as a secretary during World War II. While working in a typing pool, she was called to take dictation for the chairman of the National Security Board, Stuart Symington. Symington was impressed with her work and invited her to join his staff at the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and when he was elected to the Senate in 1952. McCreary was one of the first African American staff members to challenge the de facto segregation that existed in Senate dining facilities.

Jesse NicholsJesse R. Nichols
Government Documents Clerk and Librarian

One of the first African Americans to be hired as a clerical staff member of the Senate, Jesse Nichols served as government documents clerk for the Senate Finance Committee from 1937 to 1971. Typically, black men and women had worked as messengers and in service positions, but had been excluded from clerical staff. Appointed by Senator Pat Harrison, a Mississippi Democrat, Nichols' career extended through the chairmanships of several southern senators, including Walter George, Harry Byrd, and Russell Long. Into the early 1950s most services on Capitol Hill were still segregated, and Nichols recalls the transition to integration.

 
  

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