George Williamson Crawford
Crawford was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and attended the Tuskegee Institute and Talladega College, both historically black colleges. He then matriculated at Yale Law School, where he was only the second black graduate after Edwin Archer Randolph. While at Yale he received the Townsend Prize awarded to the best orator at the law school, a prestigious award. The award, which included a prize of $100, was given for a speech titled, "Trades Unionism and Patriotism." He was appointed clerk of the Probate Court of New Haven immediately upon graduation in 1903.
From 1907 until the 1950s, Crawford worked in private practice in New Haven. He was particularly recognized for a high-profile case in which he won the acquittals of thirteen defendants (all white), political leaders of Waterbury, Connecticut who had been charged with criminal breach of the public trust. From 1954 to 1962 he served as corporation counsel for the City of New Haven.
Crawford was also active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and was one of the founders of the Greater New Haven branch of the organization. He was also an outspoken freemason; he wrote a book on Prince Hall and black freemasonry. At the end of his life, Crawford was recognized as a pioneering black lawyer and civic leader. Roy Wilkins, then executive director of the NAACP, said at a 1966 ceremony dedicating George Crawford Manor, a high-rise residential building for the elderly in New Haven, "It is difficult for a colored man to rise above differences, mistreatments, and inequalities to reach a place such as George Crawford has. He brought all the qualities that make up the American Dream. He served his community—not colored or white—but the whole community." The George W. Crawford Black Bar Association, an organization of black lawyers in Connecticut, was named in his honor.
- "George W. Crawford Black Bar Association". Retrieved 7 January 2013.
- "Pioneers". Yale African American Affinity Group. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
- "Class Day at Yale". The New York Times. June 22, 1903. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
- "Win Yale Law Prizes: Negro and Chinaman Divide Highest Commencement Honors". The Philadelphia Record. June 23, 1903. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
- Yale Law Journal 14: 298. 1904-1905 [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=u0sbAAAAYAAJ&lpg=PA298&ots=IGWOK0_PKE&dq=George%20Crawford%20yale%201903&pg=PA298#v=onepage&q&f=true]]
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- Smith, J. Clay (1993). Emancipation: The Making of the Black Lawyer 1844-1944. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 127; 162.
- "About the Sustainer Program". Greater New Haven NAACP. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
- Crawford, George Williamson (1914). Prince Hall and his Followers. New York: The Crisis.
- "Wilkins Dedicates Home for Elderly, Hits GOP". Jet. October 13, 1996. p. 10. Retrieved 7 January 2013.