NAACP and Their Pro Bono Lawyers

From the NAACP's beginning (1910) and to around 1925, in these formative years, and with the organization basically destitute year in and year out, the NAACP was forced to rely on white male attorneys who were willing to work pro bono (without compensation). There were three lawyers who were willing to do the bulk of this kind work for the advancement of the NAACP::

-- Albert Enoch Pillsbury (born 1849 - died 1930)

-- Moorfield Storey (born 1849 - died 1930)

-- Arthur Spingarn (born 1878 - died 1971)

However, there are two things regarding the NAACP in these formative years which I find more than a little troubling (and I hope you do as well) :: 1) the legal strategy they used; 2) the apparent hypocrisy of the white lawyers.

1. Legal Strategy :: Much emphasis is given in today's literature to the legal strategy employed by the NAACP in pursuing its lauded integration agenda. However, there is another aspect to this strategy which has been given little importance or recognition (if any) and I think it bears pointing out:: their activities were not in any way consistent with existing rules for lawyers in 1910 -- or all the way up to 1964 for that matter (the year compulsory integration - Civil Rights Act - was created). Also never noted is the unprecedented special treatment NAACP lawyers consistently received at the hands of the New York State Bar. That is, what ethical boundaries other lawyers were either forced by their state bar to accept, or morally bound to respect, the NAACP lawyers were always allowed to freely engage in violating. For example, lawyers in 1910 were supposed to represent for a fee individuals, companies or, from time to time a group of any other sort, seeking redress over a legal issue or point of law. The NAACP, however, always provided its clients with free (pro bono) lawyers. Additionally, lawyers were not supposed to stir up lawsuits, advertise their services ... or call upon prospective clients and offer their services pro bono. The NAACP did all of this. And no matter the ethical violation ... the NAACP always seemed to get a pass. Perhaps because the clients the NAACP were pursuing, ones that could never afford to pay a fee for lawyer services, the New York Bar allowed these guys to get away with all their ethics violations. However, the following point still needs to be driven home here: For lawyers to work for an organization and where the primary purpose of that organization is to stir up lawsuits, claiming their efforts were for the "public good", was, prior to 1910, unprecedented in America, as well as in every other Western Civilization country. 1

2. Hypocrisy :: I have also found it very troubling that the white pro bono lawyers for the NAACP (as well as all the other members of the NAACP who were white), who worked for or on behalf of this organization - which promoted racial integration - were unwilling themselves to practice what they were promoting. In other words, none of the white attorneys were willing to live among the Negro people (Arthur Spingard was a man of considerable wealth who chose to live in an exclusively white community on a palatial estate in upstate New York); nor were they willing to send their children to a predominately Negro school; or ever willing to try to make a living exclusively among the Negro population. Yet they were essentially telling America’s white population that integration and race-nullification was the right course for their people; and not only was it the right course, their actions inferred, but the moral one as well. The way I understand hypocrisy this does appear to fit the definition. If integration of the races, still an unknown concept in human history at this time (1910 to 1925), was, as the NAACP was claiming, actually the right thing to commit to, it does seem that the ones promoting this radical new agenda should be the ones at very least practicing it themselves.


NOTE: In the 100 years existence of the NAACP, there has yet to be one documented case of a white male / female member of this organization that moved from their predominantly white community into a predominantly Black community. 2

Also, here's a look at today's NAACP (black female): CLICK HERE



2. I could not find a single documented case. If someone knows of a case(s), please include it below in the comment section (with a source).

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Comments 5 comments

American Romance profile image

American Romance 6 years ago from America

Kinda reminds one of our President.

Jim Curry 5 years ago

Article is fallacious. While I agree that the white lawyers of the NAACP should practice what they preach, their not practicing it doesn't mean that blacks deserve to be lynched, not hired, and mistreated in America. Your article is totally building a case for racism instead of building one against it. If your article had included points that state how wrong racism is and then went on to state that white NAACP lawyers needed to practice anti-racism in their own lives by sending their kids to Black schools, etc, then you article would have some semblance of intellect. But it's now just subtle racism.

S Leretseh profile image

S Leretseh 21 months ago Author

@Jin Curry...The color of racism in America today is black. The race practicing a supremacist doctrine is the black race, not the white race -- all clearly documented on the internet today...and deliberately concealed by the MSN.

The white community was in the 1960s basically being told that forced integration would fix the problems of the black community and white people therefore should just SUBMIT to it. Well, they did.

In the 60s, immediately following the forced integration laws, blacks charged into white people's businesses - 10s of thousands of their businesses in the black communities across America - and looted and burned them. Blacks then started beating and even murdering white people who dared to do business in their black community. Then white people endured the Black Panthers, Black Liberation Army (a dedicated supremacist group devoted to killing white police officers,), then De Mau Mau murders ( dedicated black supremacist group devoted to killing white people), the Zebra murder squad (supremacist group devoted to kidnapping and murdering white people)... and on and on it goes to this very day. Black behavior over the last 50 years... is indicative of racism and practicing a supremacist doctrine.

As for lynchings, here are some of the victims -- good site:

As for white people hiring blacks...between 1900 and 1960 (before the signing of the forced integration law) even tho there were no federal laws (except a couple unenforcible executive orders) requiring white companies to hire black males, countless millions of blacks were hired. In 1960, 13% of the federal work force was black (tho blacks produced virtually no tax base from their own businesses to support these gov't jobs they received). I have not found ONE example from 1900 to 1960... of a black employing a white male.

exhacuasete 15 months ago

I’m now not positive the place you are getting your info, but good topic. I must spend a while finding out much more or working out more. Thank you for fantastic information I used to be on the lookout for this info for my mission.

natalie 8 months ago

@Jin Curry have you ever experienced racism personally? I myself am white but my fiancé is black & in prison. Granted he did do the crime the charges & punishment against him were only because the crime happened to be against a white girl from Kentucky. We live in the Midwest. He didn't even have a traffic ticket. Until something personally affects you its easy to judge. I was having lunch with a coworker one time he is black and the looks & comments that we got from other older white men in the restaurant was disgusting. Until I was put into these situations I myself judged. When this personally happens to you or the ones you love it will never truly make sense.

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