William H. Hastie, Civil Rights Attorney
Starting in the 1920s, The New Negro Alliance’s ( NNA) movement focused on ending racist hiring and promoting nondiscriminatory practices in grocery stores and restaurants in the nation’s capital. William H. Hastie, who had graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Amherst College before earning a Harvard law degree, serve as one of the organization’s attorneys. FDR appointed Hastie Assistant Solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior. It seems plausible that these appointments represented the administration’s attempt to dismantle the NNA and stop its successful direct action movement. From 1927 to 1940 it gave the buying power and direct action strategy for engaging in progressive politics credibility. They proved so effective that civil rights strategists and organizations of the 1950s and 1960s added them to their toolbox and employed them across the country.