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Horne, Frank S. (Frank Smith), 1899-1974



  • Existence: 1899 - 1974

Biographical Statement

The varied careers of Frank Smith Horne included tenures as an optometrist, college administrator, and housing official. Horne also enjoyed mild success as a poet. He held positions with the Federal Public Housing Administration, Housing and Home Finance Agency, and the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing.

Frank Smith Horne was born in New York City on August 18, 1899. He was the third of four sons. His father was Edwin Fletcher Horne, a private contractor and builder. His mother was Cora Calhoun Horne. His brothers were Errol, John Burke and Edwin Fletcher Junior. He lived as an optometrist, poet, writer, college administrator and government official. On August 19, 1930, he married Frankye Priestly Burn in New York City's The Little Church Around the Corner. She later died at the Tuberculosis League Hospital in 1939. Horne remarried in 1950 to Mercedes Rector.

In 1921, he graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree from the City College of New York, currently known as the City College of the City University of New York. In 1922, he graduated with an Optometry degree from Northern Illinois College of Ophthalmology, currently known as the Illinois College of Optometry. For four years, 1922-1926, he engaged in a private practice in Chicago and New York City. In 1932, he graduated from the University of Southern California with a Master's Degree. From 1927 to 1936, he served as the dean and acting president of Fort Valley Normal and Industrial School in Fort Valley, Georgia, currently known as Fort Valley State College.

Horne was also a poet and writer who wrote during the Harlem Renaissance period. He won several Opportunity magazine awards for poetry and prose essays, including the George Bruckner Award for, "Conspicuous Promise for Essay." In 1930, his works appeared in James Weldon Johnson's anthology of Negro Poetry. Horne attempted to have a collection of his own poems published under the title, Black Arabesque, in 1940, but was unsuccessful.

In 1936, he accepted a call from Mary McLeod Bethune to work in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "Black Cabinet" as Assistant Director of the Division of Negro Affairs, National Youth Administration in Washington D.C. In 1938, he joined Robert C. Weaver as Assistant Director for the United States Housing Authority, later named the Federal Public Housing Administration (FHA). In addition, he was involved with the National Housing Agency and Office of Housing Expeditor. In 1949, he was designated a member of the Civil Service Committee of Expert Examiners for the Housing and Home Finance Agency (HHFA). In May of 1950, he conducted HHFA research into the economic situation of Negro war workers. Horne was noted as being one of the founders of the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing (NCDH).

In October of 1953, Horne was reassigned as "Assistant to the Administrator" of the HHFA after the Eisenhower administration made a concentrated effort to dismiss him. Horne considered the reassignment a "demotion." In 1954, he participated and aided in the defense of Edward Rutledge, a colleague accused of being a communist sympathizer. In addition, he conducted an intermittent fight to protect the rights of Leon Condol, a disabled World War I veteran. In 1955, he was terminated from the HHFA along with assistant, Corrienne Morrow, because of hostility from the Republican National Committee towards Horne's policies and achievements. Horne moved back to New York City in 1956 to work for City Government. Mayor Robert Wagner appointed Horne as the Executive Director of New York City Commission on Intergroup Relations.

Horne suffered a stroke in 1960 and the right side of his body was partially paralyzed. He wrote a collection of poetry titled, Haverstraw, while in the hospital. From 1962 to 1973, he became a consultant in human relations in the Housing and Redevelopment Board (HRB) in New York City. In October of 1964, he helped to write the NCDH's Ten Year Plan to end discrimination in housing. In February of 1966, he attended the Notre Dame Conference on Civil Rights legislation. In 1967, he helped to set up the Metropolitan Applied Research Center (MARC) training of human relations workers in modern techniques of anti-bias organizations. Later that year, he was awarded the plaque of the Housing and Urban Renewal Conference for "dauntless courage... in the battle for open housing." John V. Lindsay, the mayor of New York City, appointed Horne as the Assistant Administrator for Equal Opportunity in the Housing and Development Administration (HDA). The HDA later absorbed all of the functions of the HRB. He also received the HOEY award for work in human relations. In April of 1969, he aided the establishment of the NCDH/MARC Joint Research Training Program. In June of 1970, he began the initial research for the history of Racial Relations Service. The NCDH moved to Washington, D.C. from New York City at the insistence of the Ford Foundation.

In 1972, he retired from the HDA and accepted a consulting job with the NCDH. He began taping interviews for proposed history of Racial Relations Service and he accepted the MARC commission to write the history. Horne died on September 7, 1974.

Author: Nika B. Carter

Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:

Frank S. Horne papers

Identifier: 189
Scope and Contents

The papers of Frank Smith Horne measure approximately 22 linear feet and consist of 30,000 items dated between 1927 and 1974. Over half of the papers of the collection is personal and business correspondence. The other half consists of financial records, lists, minutes, legal documents, writings, press releases, reports, general items, newspaper clippings, and various collected publications. The papers have been arranged topically and chronologically.

Dates: Created: 1927-1974; Other: Date acquired: 01/01/1975

Frank S. Horne papers addendum

Identifier: 189-1
Scope and Contents The addendum to the Frank S. Horne papers consists of correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, invitations and programs, writings by Horne and others, publications, and collected materials. Unlike the bulk of Horne's papers, this addendum focuses on Horne's interest in writing, rather than his work within housing and various governmental agencies. Of note are a series of letters, dated 1915-1917, from Frank Horne's brother, Errol, to members of his family during his military...
Dates: Created: 1915-1974; Other: Date acquired: 12/14/1993

Frank S. Horne poem

Identifier: 2520
Scope and Contents This collection consists of a single typescript copy of a poem entitled "Birth" by poet and government housing official Frank Horne. The copy includes Horne's name typed following the poem, but is not signed. "For Judy Trent October 1, 1940" precedes the poem. Trent was Horne's goddaughter and the daughter of William J. Trent Jr., who worked with Horne in the federal government during the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration. The poem was written to commemorate the birth of Judy Trent...
Dates: Created: 1940; Other: Date acquired: 09/25/2017

National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing, Inc. records

Identifier: 266
Scope and Contents The records of the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing (NCADH) (1945-1974) consist of documentation for the establishment and administration of the organization, its programs and projects, as well as legal activities. Correspondence makes up approximately a fourth of the collection and covers the years 1948 to 1974. The administrative records, financial and corporate, include memoranda, agenda, minutes, and personnel records. The collection documents NCADH’s programs and...
Dates: Created: 1945-1974; Other: Date acquired: 01/01/1976

Additional filters:

African American authors 3
American literature -- 20th century 3
American literature -- African American authors 3
American poetry -- African American authors 3
Discrimination in housing 2