Loren Miller was a prominent attorney, civil rights activist, and publisher. Miller was born on January 20, 1903, in Pender, Nebraska to John Bird Miller, a slave, and Nora Herbaugh. While he was still a young boy, his family moved to Kansas where he graduated from high school.
After high school, Miller attended the University of Kansas; Howard University; and Washburn University, in Topeka, Kansas. He earned a bachelor of laws degree in 1928 and sat for the Kansas bar the same year.
Miller relocated in the 1930s to Los Angeles, California. While in California, he saw the need for a black weekly newspaper. He began publishing the California Eagle in the mid-1930s. By 1933, Miller had turned his attention back to the field of law and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1933.
By the 1940s, Miller used his voice to protest over policies and practices that discriminated against blacks. In the wake of World War II, many African Americans had left their rural southern homes seeking better opportunities in California only to be discriminated upon.
During this time, numerous lawsuits were against businesses, approximately two hundred were filed in Los Angeles in a four-year period, and other cities had much the same experience. Miller won the court case Fairchild v. Raines (1944), a decision for a black Pasadena, California family that had bought a nonrestrictive lot but was sued by white neighbors anyway.
Miller was the attorney in 1945 for the restrictive covenant case representing Hattie McDaniel, Louise Beavers, Ethel Waters, and others of the stars that had moved to what was called the “Sugar Hill” section of Los Angeles.
Miller served in numerous organizations. He was named co-chair of the West Coast legal committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Miller became the first U.S. lawyer to win an unqualified verdict outlawing residential restrictive covenants in real estate sales that involved Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Veterans Administration (VA) financing. Loren Miller died in Los Angeles on July 14, 1967.
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