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Alexander, Will Winton (15 July 1884–13 January 1956), leading southern liberal, expert on race relations, and member of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal administration, leading southern liberal, expert on race relations, and member of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal administration, was born near Morrisville, Missouri, the son of William Baxter Alexander, a farmer, and Arabella A. Winton, a schoolteacher. Alexander received a B.A. from Scarritt-Morrisville College in 1908 and continued his studies at Vanderbilt University, where he received a Bachelor of Divinity in 1912. Ordained a Methodist minister in 1911, Alexander held pastorates at Nashville (1911–1916) and Murfreesboro, Tennessee (1916–1917). In 1914 he married Mabelle A. Kinkead; they had three sons....

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Elliott, Harriet Wiseman (10 July 1884–06 August 1947), educator, political organizer, and government official, was born in Carbondale, Illinois, the daughter of Allan Curtis Elliott, a merchant who extended easy credit to poor coal miners, and Elizabeth Ann White, a staunch supporter of ...

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Niles, David K. (23 November 1890–28 September 1952), liberal activist and government official, was born David K. Neyhus in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants Asher Kohen Neyhus, a tailor, and Sophie Berlin. Although he never legally changed his name, he probably began using the name “Niles” when he entered politics. Niles graduated from Boston Latin School but was too poor to go to college. Instead, he went to work in a department store. In search of intellectual stimulation, Niles began to attend Sunday lectures at Boston’s Ford Hall Forum. There he attracted the attention of its director, George W. Coleman, who invited the young man to become his assistant. During World War I, Coleman went to Washington to run the Information Office of the U.S. Department of Labor and took Niles along as an aide. Afterward Niles resumed his affiliation with the Ford Hall Forum, which he eventually headed....