Author: Fanny Howe

Collage of Howe and Newspaper

(HOWE)VER: Some Thoughts on Mark DeWolfe Howe

Mark DeWolfe Howe (1906-1967)—father of poets Fanny Howe and Susan Howe and the artist Helen Howe Braider—was a veteran of World War II, a renowned Harvard Law professor, a pioneering biographer of Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, an informal advisor to JFK (helping to coin the phrase, “The New Frontier”), a vigorous activist against HUAC, and a dedicated lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Steadfast in his efforts “to bring to fruition the rights granted by the 13th and 14th Amendments,” Howe helped his students establish the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Review, founded the Lawyers’ Constitutional Defense Committee, and devoted his final year of life to the desegregation of the Boston school system. On the night he died, he had just returned from hours of political organizing in Roxbury, Massachusetts. As a father, Howe encouraged his daughter Fanny to attend rallies with him at a very young age, urged her to go to Malcolm X’s 1964 speech at Harvard (which she still considers “one of the most searing events” of her life), asked her …