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Walter Edgar's Journal: The Spingarn brothers - White privilege, Jewish heritage, and the struggle for racial equality

Arthur and Joel Springarn
Arthur Springarn: Library of Congress; Joel Springarn: unknown
Arthur and Joel Springarn

In her book, The Spingarn Brothers: White Privilege, Jewish Heritage, and the Struggle for Racial Equality (2023, Johns Hopkins University), Katherine Reynolds Chaddock tells a story that many today might see as unlikely: two Jewish brothers in New York, privileged in some ways but considered “the other” by many in society, find common cause with African Americans suffering from racial discrimination. And, Joel and Arthur Spingarn become leaders in the struggle for racial equality and equality – even serving as presidents of the NAACP.

Joel and Arthur had very different personalities, interests, and professional goals. Yet together they would become essential leaders in the struggle for racial justice and equality, serving as presidents of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, exposing inequities, overseeing key court cases, and lobbying presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy.

Katherine Reynolds Chaddock joins us to tell the Springans’ story.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.