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William English Walling


William English Walling was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1877. He was born into wealth and was educated at the University of Chicago and at Harvard Law School. He is an American labor reformer and socialist. After graduating in 1897 he joined the Hull House Settlement in Chicago. Walling worked as a factory inspector in Chicago before moving to New York where he worked with Lillian Wald, the founder of the Henry Street Settlement. In 1902 he visited England where he met Mary MacArthur, head of Women’s Protective and Provident League.

After witnessing a race riot in August 1908, in Springfield Riot in Illinois, where a white mob attacked local African Americans, lynched two, killed six, and forced over 2,000 African Americans out of the city, he helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and joined the Socialist Party. Walling complained that “a large part of the white population” in the area were waging “permanent warfare with the Negro race”. Walling argued that they only way to reduce this conflict was “to treat the Negro on a plane of absolute political and social equality”. In 1903 founded the National Women’s Trade Union League.