In 1948, she was the first black woman in Missouri to run for Congress, running on the ticket of the Progressive Party. And again in 1960, Margaret entered the world of politics by running for committeewoman of St. Louis’s 18th Ward. She and her running mate, Hugh J. White, adopted a platform advocating for greater benefits for veterans and the aged, stronger Civil Rights laws, and the reformation of prison statues and prisoner education. Although her bid was ultimately unsuccessful, she went on to hold both paid and unpaid posts in governmental and nonprofit groups, including a local leadership role on President Johnson’s “War on Poverty”.
Such activism allowed Margaret to make a name for herself on both the local and national stage, and she often used her own political prominence to further her goals of equality and justice indirectly. In 1964, Margaret officially endorsed Warren Hearnes in his quest for Missouri’s governorship, and worked closely with several other politicians throughout her seven decades of civil service.
The Bush family’s connection into politics didn’t end there, however. Indeed, Margaret’s brother, James T. Bush Jr, served as assistant to United States Congressman William Clay, thus helping to further many of the same goals Margaret worked to achieve.
Image: 18th Ward Candidate Card. Image Credit: Original Series 33 - MBW Personal Activities