Among the first African Americans 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. Previously, black men and women had worked as messengers, grounds keepers, and in service positions, but had been excluded from the clerical staff. When Nichols started work, most restaurants and other services on Capitol Hill were still segregated, and he recounts the transition to integration. 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. Jesse Nichols died on February 18, 2005.
Scholarly citation: "Jesse R. Nichols, Government Documents Clerk and Librarian, Senate Finance Committee, 19371971," Oral History Interviews, March 26 to April 12, 1994, Senate Historical Office, Washington, D.C.
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