Addie Hunton's Gifted Children

Title

Addie Hunton's Gifted Children

Description

Later this fall I’ll tell the story of Addie Hunton confronting Alice Paul in 1921, asking Alice to invest in winning the vote for Black women too.

+How Addie spent the 1920s: traveling the south, solo, for @NAACP. For now tho, Addie Hunton’s fascinating children. Generations 🧵

Eunice and Wm. Alphaeus Hunton Jr. were born in Atlanta, where their father was successfully expanding the @YMCA movement among African Americans and their mother was gaining renown as a writer and lecturer. Both children were clearly gifted from a young age.

Their comfortable life in Atlanta wouldn’t last. Whites resented the growing success of the African American community, and over three bloody days in September 1906, rampaging white mobs lynched between 25-100 Black people. The mob stopped just two houses from the Huntons.

Soon afterward, the Hunton family moved to Brooklyn.

Eunice and Alphaeus were teenagers when their father died of tuberculosis in 1916. Less than two years later, Addie left for the front

While Addie went to war, Eunice went off to @SmithCollege - her grandson speculates that Addie’s friend, NAACP co-founder Mary White Ovington must have helped pay Eunice’s tuition. Alphaeus was in high school, left in care of family friends.

As a little girl, soon after the Atlanta massacre, Eunice said she wanted to be a lawyer, “to make sure the bad people went to jail.”

She was the first Black woman at @FordhamLaw, and fulfilled her childhood intention by becoming a prosecutor.

She was hired by Thomas Dewey - then Manhattan DA, later governor of New York, and best remembered today as the guy who lost the Presidency to Harry S Truman so narrowly that the early edition had the wrong headline. Eunice Carter was Dewey’s close political ally for decades.

Eunice’s brother Alphaeus went to @HowardU, @Harvard & @nyuniversity, earning his Ph.D. in 1938. He often got the short end of the family stick - unlike his sister, no benefactor paid his tuition, so he worked as a Red Cap at Penn Station for years to save money.

They were both unusually accomplished and passionate. But their divergent politics drove a wedge between them. Eunice was the lynchpin of the team that convicted “Lucky” Luciano and disrupted organized crime in NYC.

Alphaeus was a professor, an activist, and a Communist. The US Congress destroyed Alphaeus Hunton’s first career. HUAC targeted groups he led, like the Civil Rights [formerly National Negro] Congress and the Council on African Affairs.

Alphaeus went to jail for six months in 1951 rather than name names. When he was released from prison, Paul Robeson & WEBDuBois were there to greet him. Not his sister, the famous lawyer.

The CIA destroyed Hunton’s second career. Unemployable in the US, Hunton moved to Ghana to help DuBois create the Encyclopedia Africana. He had devoted five years to the project when the CIA engineered the overthrow of Pres. Kwame Nkrumah’s government. Hunton was expelled from Ghana; the Encyclopedia was done.

Eunice’s dreams were damaged too - she blamed Alphaeus’ Communism for her not becoming a federal judge. Sep 07, 2020 (She was probably right.)

Sister and brother eventually reconciled, but never saw each other again before they both died in 1970.

Alphaeus Hunton had no children; Eunice Carter had one son and five grandchildren.

There is so much more to the story, and it is lovingly told by one of those grandchildren - novelist and Yale Law professor Stephen Carter - in his book “Invisible.”

Watch this well-done feature for film clips of Eunice at work. #vanguard

Creator

Daily Suffragist

Date

Sept 7, 2020

Files

Magazine_Eunice_Carter_Invisible.jpg
Alphaeus Hunton.jpg
Sept 6, 2020.png

Citation

Daily Suffragist, “Addie Hunton's Gifted Children,” Daily Suffragist, accessed September 20, 2021, https://dailysuffragist.omeka.net/items/show/504.

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