This collection consists of the personal and professional
papers of journalist, civil rights activist, attorney and judge Loren Miller
(1903-1967). The collection focuses on events taking place in Los Angeles and all of California; New York City and Harlem;
Chicago and Detroit, chiefly
between the 1930s and 1960s.
Loren Miller, journalist, civil rights activist, attorney and judge, was born in
Pender, Nebraska, in 1903 to former slave, John Miller, and Nora Herbaugh, a white
Midwesterner of Dutch ancestry. Miller attended Kansas University and received his
law degree from Washburn Law School in Topeka, Kansas in 1928. In 1929, Miller came
to Los Angeles where he first worked as editor of the California Eagle, the oldest
African American newspaper in Los Angeles, which he purchased in 1951. He also
worked for The Los Angeles Sentinel with his cousin Leon H. Washington, Jr. In 1932,
Miller and writer Langston Hughes went to the Soviet Union along with other African
Americans to make a film on Negro life in Communist Russia. The film never got made.
In 1933 Loren married Juanita Ellsworth, a social worker; they had two sons: Loren,
Jr. and Edward Ellsworth. Loren passed the bar exam in California in 1933. Miller
spent most of his legal career fighting discrimination (he assisted Thurgood
Marshall with Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas), chiefly housing
discrimination and real estate racial restrictive covenants. In 1945 he was the
lawyer for African American actress Hattie McDaniel in the Los Angeles "Sugar Hill"
housing case, which he won. In 1948 he successfully argued the US Supreme Court case
Shelley v. Kraemer; the Supreme Court found that although real estate restrictive
covenants were not unconstitutional in and of themselves, any enforcement of a
restrictive covenant by a court would be unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment.
He was a member of the Bars in Kansas and California. Miller was a member of and
held offices in dozens of organizations including: the NAACP and its national legal
committee; American Civil Liberties Union; National Urban League; Los Angeles Urban
League; United States Commission on Civil Rights; League of American Writers;
National Bar Association; National Conference of Christians and Jews; National Negro
Congress; National Lawyers Guild; and the National Committee Against Discrimination
in Housing. In 1964, Miller was appointed to the Los Angeles County Municipal Court.
In 1966, Loren wrote The Petitioners: The Story of the Supreme Court of the United
States and the Negro. He died in Los Angeles in July 1967.
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activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is
one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.