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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