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William Augustus SingfieldWilliam Augustus Singfield arrived in Arkansas about 1898 from Wilkes County, Georgia, where he was born on January 1, 1875, to Mr. G.W. and Mrs. M.C. Singfield. Prior to becoming a lawyer, he worked as a carpenter and, later, founded the weekly Little Rock Reporter in 1901.

Singfield was cashier and then vice president of attorney Mifflin Gibbs’ bank in 1903, resigning after two years due to ill health. The bank failed shortly thereafter. He later began real estate and grocery businesses and operated a printing plant behind his real estate office. These ventures brought him sufficient income to own several properties in Little Rock and Argenta (now North Little Rock) and a farm in the country. His wealth in 1907 was estimated to be $7,000-8,000.

Singfield was enrolled with the state supreme court on April 3, 1916, but had been admitted to the Pulaski County bar in 1911. Singfield’s practice was primarily in real estate although, of four cases before the state Supreme Court, three involved family law.
He was active in Republican politics and in efforts of Black members to maintain a presence and influence within the Republican Party. When the Republicans held their 1920 state convention in a segregated hotel, Singfield, Scipio Jones, J.A. Hibbler, J.R. Booker, W.L. Purifoy, and others attended and refused to leave until the lights were turned off. They then held their own separate convention. Singfield was a founding member of the first Arkansas branch of the NAACP in Little Rock in 1918. During World War I, Singfield was Associate Advisor, War Registrants and co-chair of the Negro Division War Loan Drive. In 1938, Singfield was a member of the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black lawyers group.
In 1899, he married Adeline Morris of Little Rock. She had been educated at Little Rock High School and Spellman University in Atlanta, Georgia. A son, Waldorf Astor, was born in 1900, when Singfield was still earning a living as a carpenter, and rented his home. By 1907, Singfield was said to own “a very handsome residence at 621 East 21st Street.” The 1910 and 1920 census reports show that the couple had only the one child. W. A. Singfield died on April 11, 1950.

Sources: Judith Kilpatrick, “(EXTRA)Ordinary Men: African-American Lawyers and Civil Rights in Arkansas Before 1950,” 53 Ark. Law Rev. 299, 347 n350, 351 n378, 358 n442, 359, 364 n483, 371, 372 n541, 377-78, 380 n626, 388 (2000); African American Biographical Database, Profile available at (visited 6/21/1999); 1900 U.S. Census for Arkansas; E.M. Woods (ed.), Blue Book of Little Rock and Argenta, Arkansas 101-03 (1907); AR Supreme Court Admission Records; Papers of the NAACP, Part 12, Reel 4, p. 785 (Application for Charter, dtd 7/4/1918), p. 806 (letter dtd 7/29/1920 from Singfield, showing he was President of the Little Rock chapter), p. 808 (letter dtd 9/24/1921 from Singfield to Director of Branches), p. 851 (Pledges of Little Rock Citizens Made to Dr. Robert Bagnall, 10/2-3/1924), p. 1015 (letter dtd 6/28/1928, showing Singfield as “Grand Atty” of the Mosaic Templars of America);

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