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JULIUS A. ARCHIBALD
1901–1979
Julius A. Archibald
Image from NYS Red Book, courtesy of the New York State Library.

Archibald was the first African American State Senator. He was born in Trinidad, British West Indies and moved to New York in 1917. He attended City College and later earned his law degree from New York Law School. Archibald became a social studies and English teacher while also practicing law. He also served as a law clerk to Municipal Court Justice James Watson. In 1952, he ran for the State Senate on a civil rights platform. As a member of the New York City NAACP chapter, he received a great deal of support through their grassroots network. After being elected, he introduced several civil rights pieces of legislation. His outspokenness as an elected official cost him his Senate seat in the next election. He then returned to the practice of law and continued to advocate for an end to discrimination.

“I want it to be known that I am not a Negro Senator, but a Senator who happens to be a Negro. I am here to represent all people of my district and of the State of New York.”

Quote from his swearing in ceremony January 16, 1953.

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