Clement G. Morgan (1859 – 1929)

July 8, 2012

Founder of the NAACP
Lot 7503 Mound Avenue

This excerpt originally appeared in “Mount Auburn Cemetery: A Mosaic of American Culture” by Stephen H. Anable, Freelance Writer, and Lauren Marsh, Staff in the Spring 2010 issue of Sweet Auburn.

Clement Garnett Morgan was born in Virginia to slave parents.  After the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, he moved with his family to Washington, D.C. and attended Preparatory High School for Colored Youth.  Able only to find work as a barber, he relocated to Boston, where he graduated from Boston Latin School and Harvard College.  At Harvard, Morgan formed a lasting friendship with classmate W.E.B Du Bois.

When he received his L.L.B from Harvard Law School in 1893, he became the first African American to obtain degrees from both Harvard College and Harvard Law School.  Four years later, he married Gertrude Wright.

Morgan vociferously maintained that every person, regardless of race, should have the opportunity to develop to his or her fullest potential.  Through the Niagra Movement, founded by Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter in 1905, he contested Booker T. Washington’s acceptance of segregation and stance that Africa Americans should pursue vocational training rather than college.  In 1909, Morgan joined with Du Bois and others to form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  He was one of the few black members on the Boston branch’s executive committee of the NAACP.  He was the first African American elected to the Cambridge Board of Alderman.

Clement Morgan did not have a monument marking his grave until 2005 when the Cambridge African American Heritage Trail Committee dedicated one to him.


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