The Spingarn Medal
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) awards the Spingarn Medal annually to a black American who has achieved career excellence. This award was established in 1914 by Joel Elias Spingarn (1875-1939), who was then chairman of the NAACP board of directors. He was a literary critic who was one of the first white members of the NAACP. Spingarn taught literature at Columbia University and encouraged the development of black writers during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. The first winner in 1915 was Ernest E. Just, a zoologist and educator. Many of the black Americans who were honored on United States postage stamps were also recipients of the Spingarn Medal. These winners include:
1915 Ernest E. Just 1920 W.E.B. Du Bois 1923 George Washington Carver 1925 James Weldon Johnson 1926 Carter G. Woodson 1935 Mary McLeod Bethune 1942 A. Philip Randolph 1944 Charles R. Drew 1947 Percy Lavon Julian 1949 Ralph J. Bunch 1956 Jackie Robinson 1957 Martin Luther King, Jr. 1959 Duke Ellington
1. Use the internet or some other reference tool to find the names of all the winners of the Spinarn Medal. Create a chart like the one above and include the name of each winner of this prestigious award and the year that he or she won the Spingarn Medal.
2. Who would you award the next Spingarn Medal to? Write an essay telling why this person deserves to receive this honor.
3. Design your own medal in the box to the right. Write the name of your medal on the line provided.
4. Write a paragraph describing what kind of person you would award this medal to each year.
5. Who would you select to be the first recipient of your new award?
Stamp on Black History Home Page Menu