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Featured Activists: Alma Fox

Alma Speed Fox

Alma Speed Fox was born in 1923 in Cleveland, Ohio and raised by a single mother who worked as a seamstress. They lived in a close-knit African American community in Cleveland. Alma attended integrated, neighborhood schools and was instrumental in recruiting the first African Americans to perform at her high school's annual assembly. Alma graduated from John Hay High School in 1942, got married and worked in a variety of service jobs while her husband served in World War II. He died accidently in 1946. She married Gerald Fox in 1949 and they moved to Pittsburgh, his hometown. In addition to his two sons from a former marriage, Alma and Gerald Fox have a son and two daughters.

Alma has been committed to civil rights and women's rights since her youth. She became actively involved in the Pittsburgh Branch of the NAACP in the 1950s when she joined in demonstrations against the Duquesne Light Company. She served as Executive Director of the NAACP from 1966 to 1971 and as Eastern area equal opportunity manager for U. S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Mines from 1971 to 1983, and has been a member of the Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission since 1972.

Alma remains active in the community as executive vice president of Freedom Unlimited, which she co-founded in the 1960's, and as a member of both the boards of the Pittsburgh branch of the NAACP and of Gwen's Girls. She's proud to report that she has participated in virtually every march from Freedom Corner since it was established in the 1960s.

Alma organized a major demonstration against Sears and Roebuck in 1968 demanding access to jobs and credit for African Americans. The demonstrations began in the spring and continued through the winter. Several members of the newly formed Greater Pittsburgh Area chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) had been active members of the NAACP and joined with protesters on the picket lines. These NOW members had shown themselves to be sincere friends and when they invited her to join NOW, Alma's initial response was, "I have one revolution going on, I don't need another. So, no, I will not join NOW," she revealed during In Sisterhood interview in 2008. But, through her friends, she said, "I got a different idea about discrimination, the greater idea of discrimination. So I became very active with NOW." She was convener and President of the East Hills NOW chapter, Co-Chair of the Governor's Commission of the Status of Women and a member of the national board of NOW. She served as a Pennsylvania delegate to the National Women's Conference in 1978. In 2007, she received the Wilma Scott Heide Pioneer Feminist Award from the Pennsylvania chapter of NOW for her pioneering work to advance equal rights for both African Americans and women.


Featured activists: Jeanne Clark | Alma Fox | Barbara Hafer | Eleanor Smeal


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