Helene Hilyer was the granddaughter of the first African American male graduate of the University of Minnesota. She attended the university as an undergrad from 1934 to 1938—this graduation picture is included among the graduates from the School of Education. Her activities included membership in the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha for African American women. The remainder of her activities focused on peace activism. The Minneapolis Spokesman lists her as an activist for the integration of student housing.
Hilyer earned her master’s degree in 1941, but was unable to find a job teaching in Minnesota because no one would hire African Americans. She moved to New York and ultimately Hawaii where she held elected offices and was active in the Democratic Party.
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