Civil Rights

T.R.M. Howard

T.R.M. Howard, whose full name was Theodore Roosevelt Mason Howard, was an American civil rights leader, entrepreneur, and surgeon. He was born on March 4, 1908, in Murray, Kentucky, and passed away on May 1, 1976, in Chicago, Illinois. Howard played a significant role in the civil rights movement, particularly in Mississippi, during the mid-20th century. He was an outspoken advocate for African American rights and worked tirelessly to combat racial discrimination and inequality.

As a prominent leader, Howard organized and led numerous civil rights initiatives. He co-founded the Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL) in 1951, which aimed to promote economic self-sufficiency and political empowerment among African Americans. The RCNL organized annual rallies and conferences that addressed issues such as voting rights, education, and economic development.

Dr. T.R.M. Howard, center, escorts the family of Emmett Till, including his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, to his right.

Howard also played a vital role in investigating and publicizing the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American boy who was brutally killed in Mississippi in 1955. Howard’s efforts helped bring national attention to the case and contributed to the growing momentum of the civil rights movement.

Apart from his civil rights activism, T.R.M. Howard was a successful entrepreneur and physician. He established the Friendship Clinic in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, which provided medical services to both African American and white patients at a time when segregation was prevalent. Howard’s medical practice became renowned, and he gained respect within the medical community for his surgical skills.

Bayard Rustin (R), who served as WRL’s Executive Secretary from 1953 to 1965, greets Dr. T.R.M Howard, one of the featured speakers at the rally.

T.R.M. Howard’s contributions to the civil rights movement and his efforts to uplift African American communities have left a lasting impact on American history. His work as a leader, entrepreneur, and surgeon serves as an inspiration for those fighting for equality and justice.

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