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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Calloway, DeVerne (1916-1993) papers

Repository: State Historical Society of Missouri, St. Louis

Collection Description (CRHP): The collection includes two taped interviews with DeVerne Calloway, recorded on September 9, 1971 and February 23, 1983.

Collection Description (Extant): DeVerne Calloway was born in Memphis, Tennessee. She attended LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis and did graduate work at Atlanta University and Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She taught school in Georgia and Mississippi before joining the American Red Cross and traveled to China, Burma and India during World War II. While in India, she led a protest against the segregation of Negro Soldiers in the use of Red Cross facilities.

Calloway moved to Chicago after the war and helped form the committee for Racial Equality (CORE) in 1946. She later joined the staff of Jewish Welfare Fund and Developed skills in fund-raising. In 1948, she married Ernest Calloway, a political activist and union organizer. Ernest Calloway later became president of the St. Louis NAACP, research director of Teamster's Joint Council #3 and a professor of Urban Affairs at St. Louis University. In February, 1961, they began publishing Citizen Crusader, later named New Citizen, a newspaper covering black politics and civil rights in St. Louis. Calloway was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives on her first bid for public office in November, 1962. She was the first black woman elected to the Missouri Legislature. She served on the House committees on education, public health and safety, and social security. She also served on the Elections Committee, and the Accounts Committee, as chairman of the Federal- State Relations Committee, and as a secretary of legislature's Democratic caucus. During her career in the legislature, she worked actively to increase state aid to public education and to improve welfare grants and services for dependent children, the blind, disabled and elderly. In 1978, she served on the education committee that presided over the transfer of administrative control of Harris- Stowe Teachers' College from the St.Louis Board of Education to the state. Calloway also served on many community boards, including the board of the Union-Sarah Economic Development Corporation, an organization incorporated to improve the economic, educational and social opportunities in the North St. Louis area.

Calloway was elected to her tenth term in the Missouri House in November, 1980. She retired from Public office at the conclusion of that term.

The DeVerne Calloway papers of 1956 to 1983 primarily document her work as a legislator. The only campaign literature included with the collection is from her first campaign in 1962, although congratulatory correspondence from other campaigns are included.

Most of the records date from 1962, with only one letter from 1956. The legislative correspondence is mainly from constituents urging Calloway to vote pro or con on specific bills. Other correspondence include thank-you letters for supporting or helping defeat legislation and for making appearances. The correspondence also reveals Calloway's personal involvement with her constituents, including the assistance she provided a black military officer in adopting a Korean girl in the mid-1960's and her work in helping welfare recipients and prisoners. The papers contain material from legislative committees on the restoration of historic buildings, state goals, and the transfer of Harris-Stowe Teachers' College. Additional correspondence, notes and reference files on the Harris Stowe transfer are included. Board meeting minutes, memoranda, bylaws and correspondence document Calloway's involvement with the Union-Sarah Economic Development Corporation. The papers include correspondence, campaign literature, memoranda, committee meeting minutes, conference materials, public testimony, newsclippings, photos and oral histories. The collection is arranged alphabetically by subject categories.

Date(s): 1956-1983

Digital Status: Partial

Existing IDs: T-016, T-705

Extent: 80 folders, 2 tapes, 9 photos

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Related Archival Items: Photographs in this collection can be viewed at See also sl 551 CALLOWAY, DEVERNE (1916-1993) ADDENDA, 1929-1989
sl 011 CALLOWAY, ERNEST (1909-1989), PAPERS, 1937-1983
sl 540 CALLOWAY, ERNEST (1909-1989), ADDENDA, 1932-1989
sl 550 CALLOWAY, ERNEST (1909-1989), ADDENDA, 1948-1984

Interviewees: DeVerne Calloway

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights


African American educators
African American journalists
African American politicians--Missouri
African American women civil rights workers
African Americans--Civil rights--Missouri
Civil rights movements--Missouri
Civil rights--Press coverage
Congress of Racial Equality
Prison reformers


Sound recordings


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   September 26, 2018
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