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Tue, 04.20.1909

E. Frederick Morrow born

E. F. Morrow

E. Frederic Morrow was born on this date in 1909. He was a Black businessman and politician.

From Hackensack, NJ, Everett Frederick Morrow was a minister’s son who graduated from Bowdoin College in 1930 and was employed by the National Urban League and the NAACP as a field secretary before entering Army service during World War II.  After the war, he obtained a law degree from Rutgers University and worked for the public affairs division at CBS.  He was an adviser on business affairs in the Commerce Department before joining Eisenhower’s staff as Administrative Officer for Special Projects from 1955 to 1961.

It was in this position that Morrow became the first Black to serve in an executive position on a president’s staff at the White House. As the sole Black on a staff dealing with racial tensions related to integration, Morrow faced difficult personal and professional struggles at the White House. The Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. the Board of Education ruling, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the Little Rock CHS crisis were the backdrop for Morrow’s White House years. On a staff with a civil-rights policy that was at best cautious, Morrow was often frustrated and angered.

He lived at a time when qualified African Americans were excluded from high-level political positions.  Morrow as a Black "first" found relations within the president’s "official family" to be "correct in conduct, but cold." He published his autobiography, Black Man in the White House, in 1963 leaving a valuable account of his experience as a Black man working in the president’s inner circle, including his disappointment with the indecision of Eisenhower’s civil rights policy.

Morrow campaigned for Richard Nixon’s unsuccessful election bid in 1960. In 1964, he became the first Black corporate executive, working for Bank of America; retiring from the company in 1975.  E. Frederick Morrow died in 1994.

Reference:
Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue S.E.
Washington D.C. 20540

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