This Day in History – October 4, 1982

Rayford Logan dies at the age of 85


On this day in 1982, educator and historian Rayford Logan died.

Born on January 7, 1897 in Washington, D.C. Logan was raised by working-class parents. While in high school, he was instructed by Carter G. Woodson and honored with a scholarship to Williams College.

He graduated in 1917 and immediately joined the U.S. Army in World War I. Like most other black veterans of the era, he experienced a great deal of racism by white officers.

After the war ended, Logan stayed in France and began to immerse himself in French language and culture. While in France, he stepped forward to coordinate the second Pan African Congress in Pairs. He became close friends with Dantes Bellegarde, a minister who inspired Logan to commit himself to the study of “Negro History.”

In 1930, he enrolled at Harvard University and began working towards his Ph.D. His dissertation became his first book, titled The Diplomatic Relations of the United States with Haiti-1776-1891.


He attained his Ph.D. in 1936 and then began a 40-year scholarly career, supported by W.E.B. DuBois and Carter G. Woodson. He was closely in involved with Woodson’s Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Additionally, Logan assisted DuBois by organizing several Pan African Congress meetings.

In 1938, he was hired by Howard University, where he taught until 1965. He still worked to produce articles in newspapers and scholarly journals regarding the degree of racism in America.

Some of Logan’s most noted works include: ‘The African Mandates in World Politics;’ ‘What the Negro Wants;’ and ‘The Betrayal of the Negro: The Nadir.’


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