George Houser (George Mills Houser)

George Houser

George Houser joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation in the 1940s and worked with it until the 1950s. It sponsored education and activities related to civil rights for African Americans and the end of segregation. In 1942 with fellow staffer James Farmer and activist Bernice Fisher, and James Robinson he co-founded the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in Chicago. Houser served as its first executive secretary. Farmer, Bayard Rustin and Houser were all influenced at this time by Krishnalal Shridharani’s Columbia University Doctoral thesis published in 1939 as War Without Violence. Shridharani was secretary to Gandhi and codified Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s organizing techniques and ideas on nonviolent civil disobedience. They decided to apply the same methods in their work for civil rights. Houser’s codification of Shridharani’s rules enabled CORE to engage in nonviolent actions. In 1946 Houser, along with Dave Dellinger, Igal Roodenko, Lew Hill, and others, helped found the radical pacifist Committee for Nonviolent Revolution. In 1947, after the US Supreme Court’s finding (in Morgan v. Commonwealth) that segregation in interstate travel was unconstitutional, Houser helped organize the Journey of Reconciliation. This was a plan to send eight white and eight black men on a journey through Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky to test the ruling. The protest brought a great deal of press attention to CORE and to the issue of segregation in interstate travel. In February 1948 George Houser received the Thomas Jefferson Award for his work to bring an end to segregation on interstate buses and in their facilities. In 1948, George Houser was the secretary of the Resist Conscription Committee. He described the RCC as a temporary group of pacifists, whose purpose was to gather names of people who were willing to resist conscription. In 1949, Houser moved to Skyview Acres, an intentional community in Pomona, New York. In 2010, he received the Republic of South Africa’s Oliver R. Tambo Award. In the same year he moved to California, where he lived until his death. George Houser died on August 19, 2015 at the age of 99 in Santa Rosa, California.

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Born

  • June, 02, 1916
  • USA
  • Ohio

Died

  • August, 19, 2015
  • USA
  • Santa Rosa, California

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