Frankie Muse Freeman, an attorney and Civil Right’s activist, died on Friday at the age of 101.
Raised in Danville, Georgia, Freeman grew up with the ever-present fear of Jim Crow. She graduated high school and then went on to the attend Hampton University for undergrad and Howard University for law school where she dedicated her career to fighting to end Jim Crow.
In 1952 Freeman was the lead attorney in the landmark court case Davis v. St. Louis Housing Authority, filed in federal court that led to the end of racial segregation in St. Louis public housing.
Freeman became the first woman to be appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 1964 and was tasked with investigating and making recommendations on civil rights issues throughout the country —including public housing, previously tackled in St. Louis. “I’ve never even been on a corporate board; I’ve just been a troublemaker,” Freeman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in a 2012 interview. “And I’ve filed suit against some of those folks over the years.”
As a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, the attorney also served as the organization’s 14th president.
In 2007, she was honored with a place on the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta. Also that year she was named to the Academy of Missouri Squires, a nonprofit that honors the accomplishments of Missourians who have achieved “true greatness” — among them, Harry S Truman and Stan Musial.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Freeman leaves behind her daughter, Shelbe Patricia Bullock; and four grandchildren.