ALMA SPEED FOX receives the “key” to the city from then Mayor Bill Peduto, right. Also pictured is current former State Rep. and current Mayor Rep. Ed Gainey.
Alma Speed Fox, Pittsburgh’s beloved civil rights figure who was a 30-year member of the Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission and past executive director of the Pittsburgh NAACP, died Monday, Jan. 24. She was 98.
Word began to spread Monday evening about Fox’s passing. It was confirmed Tuesday morning, Jan. 25, by the Historic Church of the Holy Cross Episcopal, in Homewood, Fox’s lifelong church.
“Alma Speed Fox’s legacy transcends the breadth and depth of service to God and our neighbor,” the church wrote to the public. “She entered the church triumphant on Monday, January 24 and heard the words of our Savior: ‘Well done thy good and faithful servant lay down thy head and rest.'”
Born in 1923, Fox made Pittsburgh home in 1949 when she married Gerald Fox. She became actively involved in the Pittsburgh NAACP when she joined in demonstrations against the Duquesne Light Company and participated in virtually every march from Freedom Corner since it was established in the 1960s. Fox served as executive director of the Pittsburgh NAACP from 1966-71 and as Eastern-area Equal Opportunity Manager for the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Mines from 1971-83. And she was a can’t-miss figure on the local Human Relations Commission from 1972-2002.
Her name also stands proudly on a building in the Hill District where the NAACP is housed.
Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, waking up Tuesday, Jan. 25, to the news, tweeted that Fox was “a Civil Rights Icon who helped to transform the City of Pittsburgh. We Love You.”
In 2018, then-Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto honored Fox with the “Key to the City.” Upon learning of her passing, Peduto tweeted: “Pittsburgh lost a leader, a true freedom fighter, who trail blazed a path of civil rights & social justice throughout our region for over 50 years. Alma Speed Fox was a mentor & friend. An advisor w/a warm smile & compassionate heart, she not only knew history, she made it.”