Margaret Bush Wilson (1919-2009)
Margaret Bush was a NAACP leader and activist attorney. She was born in St. Louis, a Sumner High School graduate. Bush was awarded scholarships for Talladega College and a Fellowship award to study at Visva-Bharati University in India. She graduated in 1939 with honors and a Bachelors of Science degree in economics, immediately enrolling in Missouri’s newly founded Lincoln University Law School. She graduated and passed the Bar Exam in 1942 as one of two women in the second class of Lincoln’s Law School. Bush is also the second woman of color admitted to practice law in Missouri. She was hired quickly by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Electrification Administration, and later started her own firm, Wilson and Wilson, in 1946 with her husband Robert E. Wilson. There, Bush specialized in real estate law, even serving as Counsel for the Black Real Estate Brokers Association.
Bush was also active in St. Louis’s NAACP branch. She became president in 1958, winning several civil rights cases during her time. In 1962, Bush became president of the Missouri branch of the NAACP. She was also the Chairman on the board of many other organizations: Mutual Insurance Company of New York, Real Estate Investment Trust, the St. Augustine’s and Talladega College boards, and other boards for national companies and nonprofit organizations. In 1948, Bush became the first African American woman in Missouri to run for congress, running on the Progressive Party ticket. Although she lost, Bush later was active in Democratic Party politics. Bush continued to practice law until her death in 2009 at the age of 90 years old. Her legacy remains as a legal force for civil advocacy.