Eleanor Holmes Norton ’60, now in her tenth term as the Congresswoman for the District of Columbia, will join her fellow alumni from the Class of 1960 for their fiftieth reunion at Antioch College on the Yellow Springs campus June 17th-20th. The weekend’s theme is “Race and Social Justice,” a fitting topic for Antiochians as many college faculty and alumni played key roles in the civil rights movement and beyond. Additionally, issues of race, campus diversity and social justice have historically been keystones in the development of the College from its beginning.
A full schedule of events is available at http://antiochcollege.org/alumni/reunion_2010. Eleanor Holmes was born in Washington, D.C. She attended Antioch College (B.A. 1960), Yale University (M.A. 1963) and Yale Law School (L.L.B 1964). While in college and graduate school, Norton was active in the civil rights movement and an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. By the time Norton graduated from Antioch, she had already been arrested for organizing and participating in sit-ins in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Ohio.
While in law school, she traveled to Mississippi for the Mississippi Freedom Summer and worked with notable civil rights activists. Her time with SNCC inspired her lifelong commitment to social activism and feminism. In the early 1970s, Eleanor Holmes Norton was a signer of the Black Woman’s Manifesto, a classic document of the Black feminist movement. Congresswoman Norton is the chair of the House Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management. She serves on three, rather than the customary two, committees: the Committee on Homeland Security, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Before her congressional service, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to serve as the first woman to chair the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She came to Congress as a national figure who had been a civil rights and feminist leader, tenured professor of law at Georgetown University, and board member at three Fortune 500 companies. The Congresswoman's work for full congressional voting representation and for full democracy for the people of the District of Columbia continues her lifelong struggle for universal human and civil rights.