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Thu, 03.28.1878

Arthur Spingarn, Historian, and Lawyer born

Arthur Spingarn

*On this date in 1878 Arthur Spingarn was born. He was a white Jewish-American historian, lawyer and activist.

From New York City, in 1897 he was the younger brother of Joel Spingarn and received his A.B. degree from Columbia University in New York. In 1899, he received a M.A. from Columbia University, in 1900 his LL.B., from Columbia University and practiced law until the 1960s in New York.  From 1917-1919, he was a Captain in the Sanitation Corps, American Expeditionary Force, United States Army.  In 1919, he married Marion Meyer.

From the beginning of his law career at the turn of the 20th century, Arthur Barnett Spingarn was interested in advancing the cause of Civil Rights and improving the condition of American Blacks.  He joined or advised a number of significant organizations, such groups as the Circle for Negro Relief, the New York State Commission Against Discrimination, the American Social Hygiene Association, the New York Tuberculosis and Health Association and the NAACP (which he was a co-founder).

From 1911 to 1915 he worked with the New York Vigilance Committee and the New York City Branch, NAACP. From 1911 to 1940 he was Vice president, chairman of their Legal Committee, and Member, board of directors, NAACP.  In 1936, he initiated annual review of books by African American authors in the Crisis magazine. Spingarn's activities also included as a bibliophile interested in works by native Africans too.

Spingarn published a number of writings including Laws Relating to Sex Morality in New York City (New York: Century Co. 139 pp.). On December 2, 1971 Arthur Spingarn died in New York, N.Y.

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