Excerpts from Lisa Mercier, University of Alabama at Huntsville

Our Brother George Williamson Crawford, was a native of #Tuscaloosa #Alabama. Born in 1877 to William and Charlotte Oliver Crawford. At the age of nine, his family moved to #Birmingham.

He attended the #TuskegeeInstitute and graduated in 1896, he then attended #TalladegaCollege, earning a degree there in 1900. He was interested in attending law school, but #JimCrow segregation laws in Alabama prohibited African Americans from attending whites-only law schools in the state. Not to be easily discouraged, he applied to and was accepted at the #Yale School of Law in #Connecticut. He excelled at his studies and graduated with honors in 1903. Interestingly he won the illustrious Townsend Prize for oration, which included a $100 prize and the honor of speaking at graduation. He was a pioneer at Yale as only the second #AfricanAmerican graduate.

After he completed his studies, he secured his first job as a clerk for the New Haven probate court. He would work there until 1907, when he started his own law practice. By this time, he was becoming involved in the African American #NiagaraMovement and chaired its #civilrights department. The Movement would lead to the formation of the #NAACP in 1911 and spark his long friendship with founder W. E. B. DuBois. Crawford helped found the organization and served as a board member until 1933.

Crawford was a determined supporter of African American Masonry and a member in Connecticut. He published “Prince Hall and His Followers: Building a Monograph on the Legitimacy of Negro Masonry” in 1914. Refuting the notion that black #Masons needed the “recognition” of white Masons to be considered legitimate members of the #fraternalorder. In 1937, he authored “The Talladega Manual of Vocational Guidance”, also known as The Red Book, at the behest of Talladega administrators. The guide, produced for use by African American colleges and counselors, provided definitions and requirements for vast fields of study and practical advice on how to interview for a job.
He was also a member #SigmaPiPhi,the #GrandUnitedOrderofOddFellows, and the #AncientorderofForesters.