Miller, Loren

Author:Jeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps
 
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Loren Miller was a municipal court judge and housing discrimination specialist whose involvement in the early stages of the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT earned him a reputation as a tenacious fighter for equal housing opportunities for minorities.

Miller was born January 20, 1903, in Pender, Nebraska, the son of a post?Civil War migrant from the South. His family moved to Kansas when he was a boy, and he graduated from high school in Highland, Kansas. Later, he attended the University of Kansas; Howard University; and Washburn University, in Topeka, Kansas, where he earned his bachelor of laws degree in 1928. He was admitted to the Kansas bar the same year, and practiced law there for one year before moving to California to pursue his first interest, journalism. He worked for the California News, a Los Angeles newspaper, from 1929 to 1933.

"THE NEGRO HAS BEEN THE WARD OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR MORE THAN A HUNDRED YEARS."

?LOREN MILLER

Miller returned to the field of law when he married and was admitted to the California bar in 1933. By the 1940s, he was raising his voice in protest over policies and practices that discriminated against African Americans. In the wake of WORLD WAR II, many blacks had left their rural and southern homes to seek economic opportunity in California, only to face discrimination and bias, particularly in housing. By 1947, Miller had represented more than one hundred plaintiffs seeking to invalidate housing covenants that prevented blacks from purchasing or renting housing in certain areas. As a board member of the AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION (ACLU), he became a well-known spokesman for the rights of minorities to enjoy equal access to housing and education. He was openly critical of

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the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), declaring that FHA policies fostered a Jim Crow policy that kept blacks confined to "tight ghettos" and provoked racial tension. Commenting on the effect of racially restrictive covenants, he noted that contrary to the claims of those who supported the covenants, residential SEGREGATION did not preserve public peace and GENERAL WELFARE but rather resulted in "nothing but bitterness and strife."

In 1954 Miller's love of journalism prompted his return to the newspaper business. He became the owner and publisher of the California Eagle, a weekly newspaper with wide circulation in the African American community. He also contributed numerous articles to such...

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