E. Frederic Morrow

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E. Frederic Morrow (c. 1906-1994) was the first African American to hold an executive position at the White House. He served President Dwight Eisenhower as Administrative Officer for Special Projects from 1955 to 1961. His brother was Ambassador John H. Morrow.

A graduate of the law school of Rutgers University, he attended Bowdoin College from 1926–1930, but had to return to assist his family before graduating. Bowdoin awarded him an honorary LL.D. degree in 1970 The Hackensack, New Jersey native worked for the NAACP before joining the United States Army during World War II. Later, he was a writer for CBS before joining the 1952 Eisenhower campaign. Morrow served as an advisor at the U.S. Commerce Department before being picked for the White House job.

The White House Historical Association has written:

As the sole African American on a staff dealing with racial tensions related to integration, Morrow faced difficult personal and professional struggles at the White House. The Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the Montgomery bus boycott, and the Little Rock crisis were the backdrop for Morrow’s White House years. On a staff with a civil-rights policy that was at best cautious, Morrow was often frustrated and angered. He lived at a time when qualified African Americans were excluded from high-level political positions. Morrow as a black 'first' found relations within the president’s 'official family' to be 'correct in conduct, but cold.' [1]

After his Republican Party was turned out of office in 1960, Morrow wrote a book on his experiences, Black Man in the White House. He later became the first African American vice-president of Bank of America. His other books were Way Down South Up North and Forty Years a Guinea Pig.

He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.


  • Willcox, Isobel (July 15, 1973). "Hackensack Is Recalled As Hostile, Racist Town". NY Times, p. 82.
  • Saxon, Wolfgang (July 21, 1994) (Morrow obituary). NY Times, p.B11.

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