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Moynihan votes to end Jim Crow at House restaurant: 1934 | by Washington Area Spark
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Moynihan votes to end Jim Crow at House restaurant: 1934

Patrick Henry Moynihan (right) was a Republican U.S. Representative from Illinois from 1933-35 and is shown in photograph circa 1930.


Moynihan was a Chicago native engaged in the publishing and printing business and also in the coal business. He was a member of the city council of Chicago 1901-1909.


He was defeated in the 1934 election for Congress and again in 1936 and 1940.


He played a minor role in the 1934 effort to end Jim Crow in the U.S. House of Representatives public restaurant.


He was appointed to the special committee to investigate whether the chair of the Accounts Committee exceeded is authority in enforcing Jim Crow at the restaurant.


As one of two minority party members of the Committee, he was the author of the minority report that found the Accounts Committee exceeded its authority and proposed an end to Jim Crow.


The Majority found that the Accounts Committee acted properly and that there was no discrimination because the restaurants were operated for the benefit of the members of Congress and any member of Congress could bring guests of any race, creed or color into the restaurant.


The subterfuge of the majority was thinly disguised as the restaurant had only placed “Members Only” signs up after groups of interracial parties began trying to obtain service as part of a campaign to desegregate the restaurant. White members of the public were welcomed without the accompaniment of a member of Congress.


The report of the special committee never came to the House floor for a vote because Speaker of the House Thomas Rainey (D-Il.) did not wish to have debate or a vote on the issue.


Jim Crow continued at the House restaurant for almost 20 years more.


For a detailed blog post on the battle against Jim Crow in the U.S. Capitol restaurants, see


For related images, see


The photographer is unknown. The image is from Find a Grave Memorial.

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Taken circa 1930