To the editor:
This is some little discussed but relevant information that might add to knowledge of the founding and history of the NAACP. Particularly in light of historic discrimination against Jews and African Americans, it shows common cause for fairness and justice.
Joel Elias Spingarn (May 17, 1875 – July 26, 1939) was an American educator, literary critic and civil rights activist and close friend of W.E.B. du Bois. In addition to his interests and accomplishments, “He also took up the other cause of his life, racial justice. An influential liberal Republican, he helped realize the concept of a unified black movement by joining the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) shortly after its founding and was one of the first Jewish leaders of that organization, serving as chairman of its board from 1913 to 1919, its treasurer from 1919 to 1930, its second president from 1930 until his death in 1939. In 1914 he established the Spingarn Medal [in perpetuity], awarded annually by the NAACP for outstanding achievement by an African American. During World War I, according to an NAACP publication, he was instrumental in seeing that ‘a training camp for Negro officers at Des Moines was established and about 1,000 Negro officers commissioned.’ W.E.B. du Bois dedicated his 1940 autobiography Dusk of Dawn to Spingarn’s memory, calling him ‘scholar and knight.’” — from Wikipedia.