Henderson, Elmer William


(1913–2001), attorney, administrator, and educator; research director, Ill. State Commission on Urban Colored Population (1940–41); acting executive secretary, Chicago NAACP Branch (Apr.–Sept.1941); field representative, FEPC (Nov. 1941–Aug. 1943); personally challenged railroad segregation during trip South, leading to major court case (1942); director, Regions VI, VIII (Chicago), FEPC (Aug. 1943–May 1946); research associate, Rosenwald Foundation Study on Segregation in the Nation’s Capital (Jan.–July 1947); executive secretary, National Council for a Permanent FEPC (1947–48); lobbyist, executive director, American Council on Human Rights (1948–55); counsel, House Committee on Operations, D.C. Regarded as particularly effective negotiator, lobbyist. He was a civil rights activist best known for his role as the plaintiff in Henderson v. United States (338 U.S. 816), where the Supreme Court outlawed segregated accommodations on trains in interstate commerce. In 1953, he met with Mitchell and Albert M. Cole to review and discuss the federal government’s housing policy. He recruited Mitchell to work with FEPC. BA, Morgan State University; MA, University of Chicago (1939); LLD, Georgetown (1952).

1913 June 18
2001 July 17