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Wed, 03.13.1872

Oswald Villard born

Oswald Villard

*Oswald Villard was born on this date in 1872.  He was a white-American journalist and editor. He was a civil rights activist.   

Oswald Garrison Villard was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, on March 13, 1872, while his parents were living there. He was the son of Henry Villard, an American newspaper correspondent who had been an immigrant from Germany, and Fanny (Garrison) Villard, daughter of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. Fanny Villard was a suffragist and one of the founders of the Women's Peace Movement. His father later invested in railroads and bought The Nation  Magazine and the New York Evening Post.

The family returned to the United States soon after Villard's birth, settling in New York City in 1876.   He served on the board and was an early supporter of the NAACP.  In 1913 he wrote to President Woodrow Wilson to protest his administration's racial segregation of federal offices in Washington, DC, a change from previous integrated conditions.  Through his writings, he was a leading liberal spokesman in the 1920s and 1930s, then he turned to the right.  He refused to support rearmament and aid to the Allies during World War II, and in June 1940 the Nation stopped printing his weekly signed articles.

He continued to oppose the war after Pearl Harbor and rapidly isolated himself from the mainstream.  Villard was a founder of the American Anti-Imperialist League, favoring independence for territories taken in the Spanish American War. He provided a rare direct link between the anti-imperialism of the late 19th century and the conservative Old Right of the 1930s and 1940s.  Oswald Villard died on October 1, 1949.  

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