Allie B. Latimer

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January 14: Allie B. Latimer
Allie B. Latimer
In 1977, Dr. Allie Latimer, a civil rights activist, became the first woman and the first African-American to serve as General Counsel of a major federal agency. Urging the government to comply with the Civil Rights Act, she founded Federally Employed Women and has worked to end gender discrimination in public sector jobs for 40 years

Allie B. Latimer
An attorney, civil rights activist and humanitarian, Allie B. Latimer has been active in legal, civic and religious activities throughout her lifetime.

Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Alabama, Latimer was the child of a school teacher and a builder. After graduating from high school, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Hampton Institute (now Hampton University). Latimer then volunteered for two years with the American Friends Service Committee, performing work in prisons and mental institutions. She participated in the effort to desegregate the New Jersey State Hospital at Vineland and an effort to integrate a suburban community outside Philadelphia.

Latimer later enrolled in Howard University School of Law and earned her Juris Doctor in 1953. In 1958, she went on to earn a Master of Legal Letters degree from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, and earned both a Master of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Howard University School of Divinity.

Latimer was instrumental in organizing Federally Employed Women (FEW) in 1968, and served as the organization’s founding president until 1969. The organization began as a grassroots effort with the major objective of equality of opportunity for all. To date, FEW has more than two hundred chapters nationwide. FEW’s many accomplishments and activities have impacted the federal workplace and contributed to improved working conditions for all.

In 1969, Latimer became an Ordained Elder at Northeastern Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. She has traveled to more than fifty countries to participate in various church related conferences.

. In 1977, as a federal attorney, Latimer was the first African American and first woman to serve as General Counsel of a major federal agency as well as the first African American and first woman to attain the GS-18 salary level at the General Services Administration. Veteran Feminists of America (VFA) recognized Latimer as part of the ‘second wave of feminist pioneers.’ She was also the recipient of the Ollie May Cooper Award, presented by the Washington Bar Association for a lifetime of legal humanitarianism and outstanding contributions to the legal profession.