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Waters McIntosh came to Arkansas from Lynchburg (Sumter County), South Carolina, where he was born a slave on July 4, 1862. He was listed as an attorney in the 1916 Little Rock City Directory, in practice with another Black lawyer, William E. Gay. That partnership lasted for three years. McIntosh was admitted to practice before the state supreme court on February 23, 1920. He had obtained his legal education through the “American Correspondence Course in Law,” which he completed when he was fifty years old. His name appears as attorney of record in one case appealed to the state supreme court, in which he was challenging a service tax imposed on attorneys.
In a 1938 interview when he was 76 years old, McIntosh stated that his father was a white Confederate officer, Sumter Durant, who was killed during the Civil War. McIntosh first entered into business in South Carolina, but decided it was wrong to make profits and, in 1886, he went to school at the age of 26. Thereafter, he attended Claflin University (location unknown). Returning from school, he taught school.
When work became scarce in South Carolina, McIntosh decided to leave the state. He arrived in Forrest City (St. Francis County), Arkansas, in January 1888, where he farmed for one year and then entered the ministry. After two years of preaching in Spring Park (location unknown), he began attending Philander Smith College in Little Rock (from 1891 to 1897). McIntosh again began a ministry and worked at it until 1915. He then entered the law. He was an early member of the first Arkansas branch of the NAACP in Little Rock in 1924. At the time of the 1938 interview, he is noted as subscribing to several publications and being ‘an omnivorous reader and a clear thinker.” His last listing in the city directory was in 1944-45.
McIntosh was married in 1881 and in 1938 was still married to the same woman. They had eleven children, six of whom survived to adulthood. McIntosh died in Pulaski County on October 18, 1945, at the age of 86.
Sources: Judith Kilpatrick, “(EXTRA)Ordinary Men: African-American Lawyers and Civil Rights in Arkansas Before 1950,” 53 Ark. Law Rev. 299, 347 n350, 347 n 353, 351 n378, 371, 374-75, 380 n626, 394 (2000); George P. Rawick, 10 The American Slave: A Composite Biography 17-24 (1941, 1972); Papers of the NAACP, Part 12, Reel 4, pp. 852, 964, Little Rock, 1926 (Membership Report dtd 10/13/1926); Papers of the NAACP, Part 12, Reel 4, no. 851, Little Rock, 1926 (list of Pledges of Little Rock Citizens made to Dr. Robert Bagnall, 10/2-3/1924);
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