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Juanita Terry, first black aide to white representative: 1949 | by Washington Area Spark
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Juanita Terry, first black aide to white representative: 1949

Juanita Terry was the confidential aide to Rep. Helen Gahagan Douglas (D-Ca.) from 1948-51.

 

She was the first African American aide for a white representative.

 

Terry initially took her meals in the Senate restaurant but was barred from the House public restaurant. Douglas persuaded operator of the House public restaurant in 1950 to permit Terry to take her meals there.

 

However, that success would be fleeting. Douglas lost a high-profile Senate campaign to Richard M. Nixon in 1950 after Nixon famously redbaited her as “the pink lady.”

 

Clarence Mitchell, the long-time NAACP lobbyist on Capitol Hill recalled that during the late 1940s there was “an on-again, off-again” policy on admitting African Americans to the House public restaurant.

 

He remembers specifically that African Americans were barred in 1950, but said the barrier dropped sometime before the 1953 decision in the Thompson Cafeteria case —during the period when picket lines were set up in front of chain stores and restaurants in the city that were barring African Americans.

 

Terry married Hosea Williams in 1951 who at the time was working at the Department of Agriculture. Williams would go on to become a civil rights leader, executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and an elected official in Georgia.

 

For a detailed blog post on the fight against Jim Crow in the U.S. Capitol public restaurants, see washingtonspark.wordpress.com/2018/02/26/origins-of-the-c...

 

For additional images related to the fight against Jim Crow in the U.S. Capitol restaurants, see flic.kr/s/aHsmcArGZz

 

The photographer is unknown. The image appeared in the January 1951 The Crisis published by the NAACP.

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Taken sometime in 1949