Arthur B. Spingarn Dies at 93

Arthur B. Spingarn, a lawyer who served as president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from 1940-1966, died here yesterday at the age of 93. In a statement issued today, Philip E. Hoffman, president of the American Jewish Committee said of Spingarn, “His humanitarian and universalist principles were the cornerstones in which a new understanding of equality and justice were built in this century.”

Benjamin R. Epstein, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, called Mr. Spingarn “one of the great pioneers of the struggle for interracial understanding and justice in the US,” and one whose “leadership, selfless devotion and vigorous espousal of human rights and dignity remains a continuing inspiration to those of us who share his idealism and his goals.”

Mr. Spingarn was the son of Elias Spingarn and the former Sarah Barnett, prominent members of New York’s Jewish community. His late father, born in Austria, was a tobacco merchant. Mr. Spingarn was born in New York and was admitted to the bar here in 1900 after receiving a law degree from Columbia University. He was among the initial founders of the NAACP in 1909 and became head of the organization’s national legal committee and a vice president in 1911. He succeeded his brother Joel, a poet and professor of comparative literature, as president of the national civil rights organization in 1940. Spingarn announced his resignation at an annual NAACP dinner on Jan. 2, 1966, explaining that at 88 he was “getting a little old.”

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