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Judith R. Johnson

Harris, Patricia Roberts (31 May 1924–23 March 1985), cabinet member and ambassador was born in Mattoon Illinois the daughter of Bert Fitzgerald Roberts a Pullman car waiter and Hildren Brodie Johnson a schoolteacher After graduating from a Chicago high school she entered Howard University from which she was graduated summa cum laude with an A B in 1945 In 1943 while a student at Howard she joined the nascent civil rights movement and participated in a sit in to desegregate a cafeteria lunch counter in Washington D C Roberts did graduate work at the University of Chicago In 1946 while attending graduate school she was also program director of the local YWCA In 1949 she returned to Washington D C where she pursued further graduate study at the American University until 1950 From 1949 to 1953 she served as an assistant director in the Civil Rights Agency ...


Mona E. Jackson

Honored in 2000 with a postal stamp bearing her portrait, the politician and civil rights advocate Patricia Roberts Harris was a leader in trying to bring about improvements and progress for disadvantaged people. Her career culminated in being named the secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by President Jimmy Carter in 1977.

Patricia Roberts was born in Mattoon, Illinois, to Bert and Hildren Roberts. She and her brother were raised by their mother after her father left the family when she was still a young child. Racked by economic hardships, Roberts’s mother knew that education was the means to gaining a better life and continually stressed its importance to her daughter. Roberts followed her mother’s advice, and after finishing her secondary education in Chicago, Roberts entered Howard University’s School of Liberal Arts in 1941 from which she graduated summa cum laude four years later While ...