The Honorable Frankie M. Freeman, Trustee Emerita, is a history-making attorney and civil rights reformer. She has served as a political appointee of four U.S. Presidents: Lyndon B. Johnson, who nominated her as the first woman to serve as a Commissioner of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter, who subsequently reappointed her. She served as a Commissioner for sixteen years, and later as Inspector General for the Community Services Administration during the Carter Administration. She has extensive experience in the areas of housing, civil and probate law, and civil rights, and has represented individuals and corporations, not-for-profit organizations and municipal agencies in state and federal courts.
A landmark in her career occurred in 1954 when she argued and won the case challenging racial segregation in public housing in St. Louis, Missouri. She has served on several national and non-profit boards, including the National Council on Aging; National Council of Negro Women; Girl Scouts of the United States of America; the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis; the United Way of Greater Saint Louis; YWCA Metro St. Louis; the St. Louis City Chapter of the NAACP; and the Washington Tabernacle Baptist Church.
She is a past national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She attended Hampton University and received a J.D. degree from the Howard University School of Law. She has been a practicing attorney in state and Federal courts since 1949, and retired in 2008. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch named her the 2011 St. Louis, Missouri Citizen of the Year. In February 2007, she was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame. Her memoir, A Song of Faith and Hope: The Life of Frankie Muse Freeman, was published in 2003.