ST. LOUIS — The late Frankie Muse Freeman was a civil rights activist who practiced law well into her 90s. Freeman’s family has donated her decades-long collection of documents and materials to Harris-Stowe State University. The Frankie M. Freeman Civil Rights Collection consists of documents produced by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. There are also related documents, Ms. Freeman's book collection, awards and proclamations from local governments and organizations.
Following Freeman's death in May 2018, her daughter, Shelbe Freeman Bullock presented the Harris-Stowe library with over 200 items.
"And there’s more to come because I’m not finished going through all of the things she had," said Bullock. "As I was going through all of her things, books, documents, ect., all kinds of things, I said some of these things need to go to the collection that’s already started on civil rights."
Dr. Dwayne Smith, Harris-Stowe Provost, said the Freeman Civil Rights Collection is an important addition to the school's Social Justice Institute.
"Handwritten notes, the drafts of her speeches, the documents that she’s collected over the years as it relates to her work in civil rights," said Smith. "We hope to have this available for anyone who wants to do research on not only Frankie Freeman but what she stood for."
In 1954 Ms. Freeman served as lead counsel in the landmark case Daviset al. v. the St. Louis Housing Authority, which ended legal racial discrimination in public housing. Freeman was also the first woman appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In November 2017, Freeman was honored with a statue in downtown St. Louis in Kiener Plaza.
Bullock said her mother was determined to make a difference and her collection proves that she did.
"So the things that she left, I want people to see and use them and get energized to do more to make this world more inclusive and just a better place."