photo credits: Wikimedia Commons
Agnes E. Meyer
country of citizenship: United States of America
language of expression: English
educated at: Barnard College
occupation: journalist, political activist, activist
Agnes Elizabeth Ernst Meyer (née Ernst; January 2, 1887 – September 1, 1970) was an American journalist, philanthropist, civil rights activist, and art patron. Throughout her life, Meyer was engaged with intellectuals, artists, and writers from around the world. Meyer's marriage to the financier Eugene Meyer, son of Marc Eugene Meyer, provided her with wealth and status that enabled her to influence national policy, such as social welfare programs. Meyer lobbied for the creation of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and for the U.S. government to provide federal aid to states for education. President Lyndon Johnson credited Meyer for building public support for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which for the first time directed federal assistance towards school districts that served children from low-income families. She advocated for equal employment and educational opportunities, regardless of race. Meyer's investigative journalism showed the inequities of racial segregation in schools in the Washington metropolitan area.The purchase of The Washington Post in 1933 gave Meyer and her family the capacity to affect American opinion for several generations. Daughter Katharine Graham led the newspaper during the coverage of Watergate Investigation that eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon and earned the paper a Pulitzer Prize. During Senator Joseph McCarthy's anti-Communist campaign in the 1950s, Meyer delivered speeches that characterized the campaign as a threat to academic freedom.Meyer was an active patron and supporter of the arts, who with her husband contributed paintings by Paul Cézanne and Edouard Manet, sculptures by Constantin Brâncuși, and watercolors by John Marin to the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
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