— Champion of Equal Rights and Social Justice —
It was just automatic for me to stand up and tell a person, "You're wrong. You're mistreating me. You're discriminatory. Why don't you give me a chance?"
Great generosity coupled with anger at injustice guided the life of Frances Albrier. In 1920 she moved from Alabama to Berkeley. She had left the highly segregated South with a college education, but still faced discrimination in housing and jobs. She worked as a maid and union organizer on the Pullman trains, married and made her home a few blocks east of here. Albrier raised three children in this multi-racial neighborhood and began a remarkable career as a community leader and activist.
"These young Negro...citizens are wondering ?Where is America's most talked about democracy. Is it real or is it hypocrisy?'" she wrote in 1939. That same year, Albrier ran for City Council as Berkeley's first African American woman candidate. She formed organizations to fight for jobs for blacks in local businesses and schools. Her articulate voice and persistence broke down barriers. Albrier used the leadership she earned to serve her passionate commitment to advancing civil rights and women's rights.
For the rest of her long life, Albrier seized opportunities to fight injustice and inspired others to join her in righting wrongs. As she told one young friend who doubted the power of her own activism: "Your life is really not just our own. You have talents that are needed in today's world and for the future. You can not stop now."