There’s Gold in Them Thar Newspapers: Melvin O. Alston

“I need my job. I need it badly. But if I lose it, I can only say this fight is well worth it. I have no martyr complex, but somebody has to fight this situation.” -Melvin O. Alston, 1940, The Pittsburgh Courier newspaper

Melvin Ovenus Alston (1911-1985) was a younger brother of my great-grandfather, Rev. Robert J. Alston. He was the successful party in the 1940 legal case, Alston vs. Norfolk City School Board.

The case set a precedent for U.S. civil rights. Atty. Thurgood Marshall, for the NAACP, was one of the counsels on this case.

Here are some fascinating news clippings and articles concerning Melvin O. Alston, my great-grand uncle:

The Pittsburgh Courier
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
28 Oct 1939, Sat • Page 22
The Pittsburgh Courier
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
11 Nov 1939, Sat • Page 1
The Pittsburgh Courier
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
06 Apr 1940, Sat • Page 3
The Pittsburgh Courier
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
16 Nov 1940, Sat • Page 1

Historical newspapers are an essential and invaluable primary resource for genealogical research. The above news clippings about Uncle Melvin O. Alston are just a few examples.

Be sure to look into historical newspapers and add them to your genealogical toolkit to learn about the history that your ancestors made. It is well worth the investment of time and subscription.

Hats off to all who stood and stand for equal pay and equal rights. May their strivings, struggles, and victories be ever documented.

The Genealogy Situation Room

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