August 17


Archibald Henry Grimke, lawyer, journalist, diplomat, and community leader, was born enslaved in Charleston, South Carolina. Grimke and his family were freed by their owner at his death. Grimke went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, and his Master of Arts degree from Lincoln University in 1870 and 1872, respectively.

He earned his law degree from Harvard University in 1874 and did graduate work at Princeton Theological Seminary before becoming an ordained Presbyterian minister. Grimke served as the American Consul to the Dominican Republic from 1894 to 1898.

He served as president of the American Negro Academy from 1903 to 1916 and was a co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909. Throughout this period, Grimke published articles and pamphlets concerning black life and history.

In 1916, he testified against segregation before the House Committee on Reform in the Civil Service. In 1919, Grimke was awarded the NAACP Spingarn Medal. Grimke died February 25, 1930. His biography, “Archibald Grimke: Portrait of a Black Independent,” was published in 1993.


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