Rayford Logan

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Rayford Whittingham Logan (January 7, 1897 – November 4, 1982) was an African-American historian and Pan-African activist. He was best known for his study of post-Reconstruction America, a period he termed "the nadir of American race relations". In the late 1940s he was the chief advisor to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on international affairs.


Rayford Logan was born and riased in Washington, DC. He won a scholarship to Williams College, graduating in 1917.[1] During the First World War he joined the U.S. Army, and at the end of the war remained in France. He helped to co-ordinate the 2nd Pan-African Congress in Paris in 1921. He returned to the US in the early 1920s and began teaching at Virginia Union University in Richmond.[1] In 1930 he started studies at Harvard University, earning an MA in 1932 and a Ph.D. in 1936. Logan was a long-standing professor at Howard University, where he worked from 1938 to 1965.[1]

In 1932, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Logan to his Black Cabinet. Logan drafted Roosevelt's executive order prohibiting the exclusion of blacks from the military in World War II.[2]

In 1950–51, Logan became Director of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).

Logan was the 15th General President of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans.

In 1980, he was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP.[3]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • The Betrayal of the Negro (1954 and 1965)
  • Dictionary of American Negro Biography
  • The Negro in the United States
  • The Negro in American Life and Thought: The Nadir, 1877–1901


  1. ^ a b c "Logan, Rayford W. (1897-1982)", BlackPast.org
  2. ^ "Rayford Logan Residence". Cultural Tourism DC. Retrieved April 17, 2009. [dead link]
  3. ^ NAACP Spingarn Medal

Further reading[edit]

  • Janken, Kenneth Robert (April 1997). Rayford W. Logan and the Dilemma of the African-American Intellectual. University of Massachusetts Press. p. 336. ISBN 1-55849-069-8. 
  • Mason, Herman (1999). "Rayford Whittingham Logan". The Talented Tenth: The Founders and Presidents of Alpha (2nd ed.). Winter Park, FL: Four-G. ISBN 1-885066-63-5. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Charles H. Wesley
General President of Alpha Phi Alpha
Succeeded by
Belford Lawson, Jr.