Lillian Rogers Parks. Lillian Rogers Parks began working as a maid and seamstress during the Hoover administration in 1929 and remained at the White House until 1960, nearly to the end of the Eisenhower administration. She and President Franklin D. Roosevelt shared a special bond because both had contracted polio. In 1952, Ebony magazine published McDuffie’s memoir along with this photograph, in which she is surrounded by memorabilia from her years of White House service.
Book cover (above): My Thirty Years Backstairs at the White House, 1961. Parks' memoir was adapted for an NBC television mini-series, Backstairs at the White House, in 1979. Fleet Publishing
Elizabeth McDuffie. Elizabeth McDuffie, a maid in the Roosevelt White House, served as a liaison between First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and civil rights activists. McDuffie also energetically campaigned for Roosevelt in 1936 and 1940. With Mrs. Roosevelt’s apparent blessing, she was a leader in the United Government Employees, a union with a special following among lower-paid workers.
Elizabeth McDuffie (fourth from left) at first anniversary event of United Government Employees, 1937.
Robert W. Woodruff Library