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Fri, 02.09.1912

The National Negro Bar Association is formed

Newspaper Announcement

*The National Negro Bar Association (NNBA) began on this date in 1912.   It was the first national bar association for African American lawyers in the United States.

The NNBA was founded in Little Rock, Arkansas. At the time, the American Bar Association refused to accept black members, making the NNBA the only national bar association that black lawyers could join. The NBA's first president was Josiah T. Settle, who was president until 1913. Others active in organizing the NNBA included Scipio Jones. The NNBA was an adjunct to the National Negro Business League (NNBL), one of several specialized African American professional organizations that grew out of the NNBL.

The NNBA ultimately foundered due to its members' dissatisfaction with the NNBL's tolerance of racism and unwillingness to advocate aggressively for social change. The NNBA met annually from 1909 to 1919. The annual meetings attracted around 50 lawyers each year. Lawyers from the American South dominated the membership. The attendance of attorney Lutie Lytle at the NNBA's 1913 meeting made history as she became the first African American woman to participate in a national bar association. The NBA's operations ceased in 1922.

The last president of the NNBA was Perry W. Howard, who had also served as the NBA's first secretary. In 1925, the National Bar Association (NBA) was formed, taking over the NNBA's previous role as the country's nationwide black bar association. In 1926, NBA president Charles H. Calloway publicly denied any relationship with the old NNBA.

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