Earl B. Dickerson Papers
Earl Burrus Dickerson was among the most prominent leaders in African American business, politics, and law in the twentieth century. Born in Canton, Mississippi in 1891, he was educated at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He served in World War I and returned to the University of Chicago to complete his law degree in 1920. He made Chicago the seat of his career, serving as Alderman of the Second Ward (1939-1943), and rising to top positions in the Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company, the National Urban League, and the NAACP. Among his accomplishments was leading a successful legal challenge to a racially restrictive housing covenant in Hansberry v. Lee (1940) and serving on Roosevelt's wartime Fair Employment Practices Committee. After his retirement from Supreme, Dickerson continued to be active as a public speaker and garnered numerous awards and honorary degrees.
The Earl B. Dickerson Papers consist mainly of personal correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, a modest collection of professional correspondence, manuscripts of speeches, newspaper clippings, programs of public events, serials, and recorded oral histories. This collection is especially illuminating of his private life, particularly through extensive series of correspondence and photographs.