Civil Rights attorney Frankie Muse Freeman dies at 101; funeral - KMOV.com

Civil Rights attorney Frankie Muse Freeman dies at 101; funeral arrangements announced

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Frankie Muse Freeman (Credit: KMOV) Frankie Muse Freeman (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

American Civil Rights Attorney and St. Louisan Frankie Muse Freeman died Friday. She was 101.

Freeman was the first woman ever to be a part of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

In 1954, Freeman was the lead attorney for the NAACP case Davis et al v. the St. Louis Housing Authority, which ended legal racial discrimination in public housing within the city.

In 1982, Freeman joined 15 others and formed a bipartisan Citizens Commission on Civil Rights that had a goal of ending racial discrimination.

Adolphus Pruitt, president of the St. Louis NAACP, said the city has lost one of its most cherished civil rights leaders whose legal career spanned more than 60 years.

“If I were to tell a tale about Frankie’s lifework, I would say she tackled civil rights issues like the work of a blacksmith, forging a brighter future for society and bending the iron will of those who would oppose such,” Pruitt said.

Freeman has a statue in Kiener Plaza that was installed in November 2017.

Senator Claire McCaskill said in a statement that Freeman was courageous, strong and had "towering intellect" that paved the way for both black and woman attorneys.

"The world will miss her righteous passion," McCaskill said. "We have lost a St. Louis legend."

The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis expressed sympathy for Freeman's passing in a statement.

"She was our first female board chair and the longest serving member of our Board of Directors, the first woman appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and founder of the Citizen’s Commission on Civil Rights," the statement read. "We will greatly miss Frankie's wisdom and friendship for years to come."

Former Missouri Congressman Bill Clay said in a statement that the nation has lost one of its greatest crusaders for racial and sexual justice.

"In her 8 decades of challenging bigotry and overcoming much of it, she leaves a legacy for future generations of freedom fighters to emulate," Clay said. "Imagine to what degree and number of the oppressed would be if Frankie had not so persistently fought to right the wrongs of this nation."

St. Louis City mayor Lyda Krewson praised Freeman's accomplishments in a tweet.

Freeman will lie in repose at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park on Jan. 19 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The public is invited to pay their respects.

On Jan. 20, a funeral service will be held at the Washington Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church located on Washington Ave at 9:30 a.m.

Following the service, a burial will take place at the Calvary Cemetery near West Florissant Ave. in St. Louis.

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