Frame: 74.3 x 59.1 x 2.9cm (29 1/4 x 23 1/4 x 1 1/8")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; partial gift of James Moorfield Storey
Born Roxbury, Massachusetts
Boston lawyer Moorfield Storey joked that some considered this portrait by John Singer Sargent to be "a fraud on the public, since it represents such an amiable old gentleman instead of a ferocious bruiser." Storey was indeed passionate in the causes he espoused, particularly the battles against imperialism and racism. Early in his career, Storey clerked for abolitionist and reform-minded senator Charles Sumner, which inspired a lifelong concern for the rights of African Americans.
In 1909 he participated in the National Negro Conference, which led to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The following year Storey became its first president, holding the position for nineteen years. His major contribution was arguing NAACP litigation before the Supreme Court, including successful decisions involving the Fifteenth Amendment (voting rights), statutory segregation of residential areas, and protecting criminal trials against mob intimidation.