Lucile Montgomery Papers, 1963-1967


Lucille (Lucy) Montgomery, one of the most active northern white women committed to the Civil Rights movement, is a southerner by birth. Born in North Carolina and graduated from Salem College for Girls, she was a case worker and county welfare administrator in her home state before going to Washington, D.C. in the early years of the Depression. There she joined the League of Women Shoppers in New Deal days, and had her first experiences with picketing.

After her second marriage, she moved to Winnetka, Illinois, with her husband, Kenneth L. Montgomery, a corporation lawyer. Her four children are now grown, and she lives in the suburban community of Northbrook, near Winnetka, where in the past few years she has given benefits to aid various projects in which she believes. Her financial resources are reported to come in part from the Post cereal fortune.

In the Chicago area, Lucy Montgomery has worked with the League of Women Voters, has been on the board of SANE, helped to establish the Henry Horner nursery school in Chicago, was one of the founders of Women for Peace, and joined the Winnetka Associates of the Women's Board of the Chicago Art Institute. She is greatly interested in African art and culture, and she and her husband have sponsored several African students in America. In 1963, Mrs. Montgomery made eight trips to the Dominican Republic to work among the poor, trying to develop a government-sponsored crafts project, a plan that failed with the overthrow of Juan Bosch.

It was the need for involvement, and her interest in the problems of literacy and poverty, that led her into the Civil Rights movement, to which she has given generously of her time, energies, and money. She began her association with SNCC in 1964, after attending a conference in Atlanta. In cooperation with SNCC she has directed or participated in Freedom Workshops and Citizenship Workshops in the South, including direction of a Freedom School Workshop at Highlander Education and Research Center, Knoxville, Tenn. She serves on the board at Highlander also. In 1964, she helped train college volunteers for the Mississippi Summer Project, took part in “Wednesdays in Mississippi,” and attended the Hampton (Va.) Institute on problems of the South. She has consistently tried to help the poor of the South develop their building trades training program.