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Crystal B. Fauset
On this date, in 1894, Crystal Bird Fauset was born. She was a Black social worker and elected official.
Crystal Bird was born in Princess Anne, Maryland, to Benjamin and Portia Bird but was raised in Boston by her aunt, Lucy Groves. She attended public schools and graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University, in 1931. That same year she married educator Arthur Huff Fauset. As a social worker for the YWCA in New York and Philadelphia, Fauset was named executive secretary of the Institute of Race Relations at Swarthmore College in 1933.
Five years later, the Democratic Party in Philadelphia asked Fauset to run for a seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from their district, a position she won. Through her years as a state legislator, Fauset developed a friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, which helped her secure the position as Assistant Director and Race Relations Director of The Office of Civil Defense. By 1944, she became disappointed with her party’s handling of Blacks in the war and announced her support for Thomas E. Dewey and the Republican Party.
She held several other important positions during her career. She served as chair of the Philadelphia Negro Women’s Democratic League, was on the board of trustees of Cheyney State Teachers College, and was on the board of directors of the Small Business Opportunities Corporation of Philadelphia. Crystal Bird Fauset died on March 27th, 1965.
The Face of Our Past
Images of Black Women from Colonial America to the Present
Edited by Kathleen Thompson and Hilary Mac Austin
Copyright1999, Indiana University Press