Galveston native, civil rights chief Stearnes dies at 89 | Native Information


Eldrewey Stearnes, an Islander who spent his life fighting for civil rights in Texas and across the country, died of septic shock in Texas City on December 23. He was 89 years old.

Before serving two years in the US Army, Stearnes attended Central High School in Galveston. He graduated from the class of 1951 and gave the senior address. He was honorably discharged in 1953 and attended Michigan State University, where he studied political science, and later attended the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in Houston.

In 1959, Stearnes was beaten by the Houston police during a traffic obstruction and taken to prison. It was soon known that he had carried out sit-in strikes and desegregation demonstrations in Houston during the civil rights movement, said his younger brother Rudolph Stearnes, of Houston.

“He never forgot his Galveston roots and often brought colleagues to Galveston to try our mother’s delicious crab gumbo,” said Rudolph Stearnes. “My brother was known for his advocates for equal human rights, his demands for justice, and his achievements. His commitment to civil rights is known and recognized nationally and locally. “

Memories of Eldrewey Stearnes can be found in the book “No Color Is My Kind” by Thomas R. Cole and in the film / documentary “The Strange Downfall of Jim Crow”, which is in the archives of the Rosenberg Library and the University of Texas Press medical department, said Rudolph Stearnes.

“He remains an unsung pioneer of racial justice,” said Rudolph Stearnes. “He was loved and will be missed very much by me and everyone who knew him.”

Funeral arrangements were due from Friday afternoon.

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