Author Topic: E. Frederick Morrow  (Read 14199 times)

Offline BLeafe

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E. Frederick Morrow
« on: September 27, 2010, 12:12:42 AM »
http://cgi.ebay.com/55-African-American-Sworn-Project-White-House-Photo-/170544044096?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item27b5379840

Description:
Type I. Wire photo. Measures 9x7. contains stamp and caption on the verso. Washington: In a ceremony at the White House, Everett Frederick Morrow, of Hackensack N.J was sworn in Administrative officer of the White House "Special Projects Group" It was the first time an African American was given an important post in President Eisenhower's executive Office.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2010, 09:29:54 AM by Editor »


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Offline Whitey

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Re: Hackensack man: 1st African-American White House staffer (1955)
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2010, 09:06:03 AM »
Mr. Morrow wrote a book "Way Down South Up North" about growing up in the somewhat segregated community of Hackensack.  His sister was the first African American school teacher to obtain a teaching position in Hackensack (Nellie K. Parker).  Interesting reading if it is still in print.

Offline Editor

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Re: Hackensack man: 1st African-American White House staffer (1955)
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2010, 09:25:08 AM »
Wikipedia entry: E. Frederick Morrow

Offline just watching

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Re: E. Frederick Morrow
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2010, 09:06:43 AM »

I would love to read that book.  I wonder if it is online somewhere.  Abler computer minds than myself could possibly find it ????

Offline just watching

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Re: E. Frederick Morrow
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2010, 12:02:34 AM »

I got a copy of this book, and just finished reading it.  All I can say is WOW, WOW, WOW !!!!!

This is a treasure-trove of information focussed on the 1920's of Hackensack and issues affecting the African-American community. It is very well-written.  It's an incredible social commentary on the state of affairs for African-Americans, touching on both local and national themes.  It's a good read even for people who know nothing about Hackensack.

There's a lot of shocking quotes, especially what Fred Morrow has to say about "The beehive", which is what the portion of Central Ave was referred to. Between the Railroad and First Street, with it's boarding houses and taverns.  If anyone else posted what he had to say, the Editor of this website would quickly delete the posts. So literally, I can't even repeat it or paraphrase it.

He talks extensively about education and the tendency of black kids to label successful black kids as being too white, and then socially isolating them. How this was his personal struggle. This theme is still very relevant today, but it is hardly discussed in a public forum.

He talks about Senator Johnson and his black servants that cared for his estate at Main & Anderson. How these servants walked around town with such attitude that they were better than the other blacks because of who they worked for and where they lived. 

He talks about the Hackensack YMCA being built directly on the site of a former slave-owning plantation, and not letting blacks use the swimming pool.

He talked about blacks not being allowed in movie theatres and restaurants, as recently as 1945. And how a Greek hot dog vendor at River and Bridge Streets wouldn't even sell him a hot dog.

He talks about the estates on the Hill, the people on the Hill and a few other parts of Hackensack as the employers of a very large percent of the black population of Hackensack.  He referred to 1,500 blacks out of 15,000 population of the city. 

He talked about a small Black neighborhood in Park Ridge and Mahwah, and a Black church in Closter.  He talks about his Father, and what a great role model he was.  He talks about Camp Merritt, and the stresses it placed on all of Bergen County by putting white southerners and blacks together. How the soldiers were all over Bergen County, visiting everywhere.  How black soldiers attacked a racist store in Englewood and tore it down brick by brick.  How his Father faced down hostile white solidiers on a trolley from Lodi to Hackensack, WITH A GUN to defend him and his family.

And how his sister was the first black teacher, and what a controvery. ANd how black leaders came out against her as well.

He rants against the Republican White Protestant political structure of Hackensack, which no longer exists even as a component of the politics of the City.  He repeatedly refers to Italians as lower-class immigrants and compares their plight to that of blacks in Hackensack, and how Italians were relegated to classes of lower acedemic nature in the city schools. He talks about the mid 1920's, in which the city had to allow Italians and blacks to attend the almost 100% white school on State Street due to overcrowding of the Union Street and Broadway Schools.

He lived at 252 Berry Street, near Second Ave.  At that time this was the edge of the black neighborhood and what he called an Irish neighborhood.  Unsure what this "Irish neighborhood" is, and he didn't specify. He must have thought it would be obvious to Hackensack readers, but so much time has gone by that it's not obvious.  My guess is he's talking about Stanley Place and perhaps portions of Berry Street between the railroad and First Street.  I know from other sources that this was the last part of the Carver Park area to be settled by African Americans. He refers to having to walk through the "tough Irish neighborhood" to go to and from the State Street School, and how Irish kids would gang up on him, beat him, and harass him.  He can't be refering to Park Street and upper Union Street, they were solidly White Protestant at that time. Those streets were definately not an Irish neighborhood in the 1920's north of Central Ave, or even in the 1960's only a few Irish were there. South of Central Ave along Union Street was another Irish area that he didn't talk about at all.

He refers to the Conklin Estate on the south side of Passaic Street, being a large white house and the residence of the prominent Republican politician Edna B. Conklin.   And that his own house was once part of that estate, since subdivided.  I'm trying to identify which house he is talking about. My guess is the rear half of the boarding house that burned around 2006, but I'm not confident on that guess.  He talks about how patronizing politicians were to the black community, especially Mrs. Conklin and her black servant who he greatly disliked.

Anyone who wants this book can order it through Amazon.com and other online soursces.

Offline Whitey

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Re: E. Frederick Morrow
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2010, 09:08:04 AM »
I told you it was worth reading.

Offline semafore

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Re: E. Frederick Morrow
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2010, 09:13:36 AM »
I, too ,ordered a copy of he book Way Down South Up North from Amazon and found it a fascinating read. The title is apt. The Hackensack I grew up in was very racist and I grew up assuming that that was the way things were supposed to be.
 I attended Fairmount School from 1944 to 1954 and I don't remember ever seeing one Black student. During Thanksgiving conversation with our relatives, the fact that the catchment boundaries for attendance to Fairmount were frequently shifted to exclude certain neighborhoods (wink, wink) was widely applauded.
I was surprised to read that Frederic Morrows sister, Nellie Catherine Morrow was the first Black teacher in the Hackensack school system and the uphill battle she had just to be able to practice teach to get her teaching certificate. Also disturbing was how the Black community failed to support Nellie Morrows quest to become a teacher in the Hackensack school system. There were some White heroes, albeit reluctant heroes, in this book. Dr. William Stark, Superintendent of Schools, who helped Ms. Morrow get a practice teaching assignment and, again, helped her get a teaching job in the Hackensack School System. John Steinhilber, athletic director in the 1920s (and still there in the 1950s) encouraged him to concentrate on doing a good job and ignore the taunts, Black and White. The most disturbing aspect of the book were the attitudes of Black students in the 1920s (and, unfortunately, still today) that education is a White thing and Blacks who seek to study are trying to be White. I tutor at a Charter school in Indianapolis and still find this attitude is still a roadblock to getting Black students excited about competing academically.
Dr. Morrow was very pessimistic in 1973 about whether anything would ever change in Black/White relationships.  I hope, if her were still alive, that he would be more optimistic today.
 

Offline BLeafe

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Re: E. Frederick Morrow
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2011, 01:00:07 AM »
1955 press photo: Hackensack's Frederic Morrow named to White House post

http://cgi.ebay.com/1955-Press-Photo-President-Kisenhower-Frederic-Morrow-/260828301815?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item3cba9409f7


Photo text says "President Kisenhower". Seller didn't fix it in his title or description.


Description:

This is an original press photo. president kisenhower has named frederic morrow of hackensack,n.j., to be the administrative officer of the white house special project group Photo measures 10 x 8.25 inches. Photo is dated 07-21-1955

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Offline BLeafe

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Re: E. Frederick Morrow
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2013, 02:26:10 PM »
http://www.northjersey.com/news/opinions/220977491_Opinion__Besides__The_Butler__there_was_Fred_Morrow.html?page=all


Besides "The Butler", there was Fred Morrow

Sunday, August 25, 2013
BY  MICHAEL J. BIRKNER
The Record


White House butlers have a tough job, but also a privileged view of goings-on among the nation's leading movers and shakers. "The Butler," a newly released Hollywood drama, is told from the perspective of a black man who served a series of presidents at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. It appeals precisely because the angle of vision is fresh and intriguing.

North Jersey residents may be interested to learn that a Hackensack native was one of the African-Americans in the White House during much of Dwight Eisenhower's presidency. That man, Frederic Morrow, was not a butler or chauffeur. He was a member of the president's executive staff, the first such appointment in presidential history.

Fred Morrow (1909-1994) grew up in Hackensack at a time when African-Americans were supposed to be deferential and largely invisible in public life. His father, an itinerant minister, made ends meet by working as a janitor at the Johnson Free Library in Hackensack. Yet when Fred applied for a library card at a young age, the librarian told him to forget it because he did not need books.

Fortunately, his family was dedicated to the idea that education was the key to upward mobility. They didn't let the librarian's evident racism get them down. All of Fred's siblings, including his sister Nellie, sought college educations. Most, including Nellie, completed degree programs. Fred's brother John earned a Ph.D., taught French for many years at Rutgers University and served as the first U.S. ambassador to the West African nation of Guinea.

Fred himself garnered a bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College in Maine and a law degree from Rutgers before joining the NAACP as field representative. He served in the military during World War II and returned to the organization's main office after the war.

By 1951, Morrow was working in the news division of CBS in New York. Long active in Republican politics in New Jersey, he was known by the state's dynamic governor, Alfred E. Driscoll. When the Republicans needed a "black" aide to ride with presidential nominee Dwight D. Eisenhower on his campaign train in 1952, Driscoll saw to it that Morrow was appointed.

In his campaign role, Morrow reminded everyone he met of the Democratic Party's dismal record on civil rights and the Republicans' commitment to a fair shake for blacks under Gen. Eisenhower. Promised a role in the new administration if the Republicans took power, Morrow was disappointed when director of congressional liaison-designate Wilton Persons, an Alabamian, promised to resign if a black man were named to the White House staff. It took two more years for Eisenhower's chief assistant, Sherman Adams, to deliver on his promise to Morrow.

Deliver he did in 1955. From his White House perch over the next six years, Morrow pushed for civil rights and helped shape the administration's message to the African-American community. But Morrow also made it clear he did not want a job dedicated to "Negro affairs." Consequently, his portfolio focused more on special projects, including finding space for presidential commissions to meet and negotiating with staffers who had special material needs.

Inevitably, however, Morrow was drawn into civil rights advocacy. He was proud of what Eisenhower did to integrate the armed forces contrary to conventional wisdom, this was not accomplished by Eisenhower's predecessor, President Harry Truman and eliminate segregation in military facilities and in the District of Columbia.


Lobbyist for action


When Morrow was appointed to the White House staff, he still could not count on finding a place to eat in the neighborhood. Adams made him a member of the White House mess, and that took care of that problem. However, finding appropriate housing for him and, after he married in 1958, his wife, was not a simple matter.

Records show Morrow consistently, though discreetly, lobbied the administration to take more aggressive actions, both symbolic and substantive, to advance civil rights. Even so, he was never able to persuade the president to publicly endorse the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision, which ruled segregation in public schools unconstitutional. Nor did Eisenhower condemn the maiming and killing of Emmet Till, a Chicago teen visiting his cousins in Mississippi. White men slew Till after the boy, on a dare from friends, allegedly said "bye, baby" to a white woman in a local store.

On the plus side, Morrow lobbied successfully for more black appointments to important positions in the White House, proselytized for the administration's tough civil rights measure in 1957 ultimately watered down by Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson and helped broker the first meeting of African-American leaders with Eisenhower, an event which received massive news coverage in June 1958.

A straight-shooter and a hard worker, Morrow found himself caught between civil rights activists who believed he was not pressing hard enough on measures important to them and conservatives in the Eisenhower White House who felt he was pressing too hard. Even Secretary to the Cabinet Maxwell Rabb, who served as liaison with the African-American community and was widely viewed as sympathetic to civil rights, periodically dressed Morrow down for being "too aggressive" in pitching for his cause.


A loyal Republican

Despite frustrations that included being snubbed socially by several Eisenhower officials and by his growing isolation from civil rights leaders, Morrow soldiered on, doing his best to see the GOP live up to its billing as the party of Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president.

Morrow's White House tenure was the highlight of his career. He never held another high position in government and was largely a pariah in Bergen County Republican circles because of his civil rights advocacy. Although his legal residence was Teaneck for many years, in a home co-owned with his sister, Morrow spent most of his retirement in New York City.

He published three books, including an edited diary of his White House years and two memoirs. One of them "Way Down South Up North" sheds a fascinating and at times harrowing light on what it was like to grow up black in Hackensack in the years just before and after World War I.

Morrow did not have a butler's eye view of doings in the White House. He had something better: An opportunity to influence policy and programs, and to serve as a symbol of African-American aspiration and opportunity. He was always proud of being a race pioneer and would have been prouder to know that African-Americans now aim for and achieve higher peaks than was possible for Morrow.

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Offline Whitey

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Re: E. Frederick Morrow
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2013, 09:15:51 AM »
See my post above (September 27, 2010).  The book, Way Down South Up North, is worth reading to understand Hackensack history.  Also, Nellie in the article, is Nellie K. Parker

Offline Editor

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Re: E. Frederick Morrow
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2013, 03:57:55 PM »
Frederic Morrow: From Hackensack to the White House. 

Wednesday, January 22,   7 - 9 PM. Johnson Public Library, 274 Main Street, Hackensack.
 
Join us for a panel discussion on Frederic Morrow, a Hackensack native who became the first African-American to hold an executive position in the White House, under the Eisenhower Administration. Our panelists will be Arnold E. Brown, noted Bergen County historian, Anthony Carrington, President of the Bergen County NAACP, and Victor Carter, adjunct professor at FDU. Please pre-register with Kate at 201-343-4169 x36 or kathryn.cannarozzi@bccls.org.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2013, 02:37:54 PM by Editor »

Offline Ken McKenzie

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Re: E. Frederick Morrow
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2015, 06:10:18 PM »
My father, who was active in Hackensack politics in the 1950's and 60's was a friend of Fred Morrow. In the mid 50's, when I was about 10 years old, my father called me into the house to shake hands with Mr. Morrow who was visiting my father.

I remember my father felt honored to know Fred, and impressed upon me how important a person he was.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2015, 10:42:17 PM by Ken McKenzie »

Offline Homer Jones

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Re: E. Frederick Morrow
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2015, 08:19:10 PM »
Did your father work for the City?

Offline Ken McKenzie

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Re: E. Frederick Morrow
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2015, 10:38:06 PM »
No, my father worked in NYC, but he was active in the "Hackensack Good Government League" that supported Edgar Deuell for mayor. When Deuell won, he appointed my father to the Board of Education, where he served for as number of years and became the president. He was involved in the planning of Beech Street School.
I'm not sure where my father met Fred Morrow, but both my parents were active in trying to integrate the Hackensack school system in the 1950's.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2015, 10:47:43 PM by Ken McKenzie »

 

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