Former NAACP National Board of Directors member and past St. Louis NAACP Branch President Evelyn H. Roberts, died recently (March 24) at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. She was 86.
The long-time Gateway City resident retired from St. Louis Community College at Meramec in 1985.
\”Dr Evelyn Roberts was of that generation which truly believed civil rights activism was an imperative for everyone,\” said NAACP National Board of Directors Chairman Julian Bond. \”She served the NAACP in many capacities during her life – Board member, Branch President, and President of our magazine. In all of these, she was the quintessential NAACP volunteer – selfless, never claiming or demanding credit or the spotlight, determined to make the organization she served better in every way.\”
Born in McAlester, Okla. Roberts earned a bachelor’s degree from the former Stowe Teachers’ College. She received both her master’s degree and doctorate in education from Columbia University in New York.
In the 1950’s, she was a high school English instructor. By 1963, she began her career at St. Louis Community College as a professor of English.
That same year, she became presi-dent of the St. Louis branch of the NAACP where she fought for school integration in St. Louis, helped organize a boycott of an area firm that refused to hire African Americans. A few years later she led a fair housing effort.
She also served as president of the NAACP’s national magazine, The Crisis. From the mid-1960s to 1993, Roberts served on the NAACP’s National Board of Directors.
In her lifetime, Roberts served as central regional director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.; served as vice president of the St. Louis Community College district; was chosen as the 1966 St. Louis Globe-Democrat Woman of Achievement for her contributions in human relations; was a member of the local Child Welfare Advisory Committee; was one of the first female members of the Page-Park YMCA board of managers; and a member of the Catholic Interracial Council.
She is interred at Valhalla Chapel of Memories and is survived by a sister, Lolita Roberts Abernathy, of St. Louis. Memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church, 3100 Bell Avenue, St. Louis, Mo. 63106, or the Alzheimer’s Association, 9374 Olive Boulevard, St. Louis, Mo. 63132.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.