Helen H. Lahr grew up in Philadelphia’s Seventh Ward and has attended Tindley Temple United Methodist Church since she was a child. She recalls knowing the Rev. Charles Tindley, the church’s pastor, when she was young. She was a secretary for the Board of Education for about 20 years, retiring in 1982.
The mother of three children, she also is a grandmother of seven and has seven great-grandchildren.
Helen Lahr Booklet
Helen Lahr Photos
Helen Lahr Video
Helen Lahr Excerpts
Some people look at me oddly, but in the environment that I grew up in and all my schooling, I was never confronted with blatant racism. But I would hear of some of the things, like if you went into a big theater, you sat upstairs.
Church’s Role in Civil Rights Movement
Dr. Claude Edmonds, our pastor, was active with the civil rights movement and he would tell us what was going on. Sometimes we would have speakers come in and talk about what they were doing. They tried to urge the Black people to have more interest and involvement with the civil rights movement. I was not personally involved in the movement but I really did support it. I admired Dr. King immensely.
Progress in Race Relations
There are some shortcomings, I’m sure, but I think race relations has made great strides. Most of my lifetime I really never gave thought too much about the possibility.
Excitement Over First Black Presidents
Most of my lifetime I really never gave thought too much about the possibility of a Black president. But in later years, I began to think about that. I was skeptical about it ever happening because we know how things are. If I danced, I could have danced when he was elected.