• IdentificationMSPayn68
  • Title
    • Aaron H. Payne papers MSPayn68
    • Payne (Aaron H.) papers
  • PublisherSpecial Collections
  • LanguageEnglish
  • RepositorySpecial Collections
  • Physical Description5.0 Linear feet
  • Date1894-1994
  • AbstractAaron H. Payne (1901 to 1994) was a Chicago-area attorney and civic activist. As an attorney, he represented Joe Louis, Nat King Cole, and Josephine Baker, among others. The Aaron H. Payne papers mainly reflect his work as an attorney and civic activist in the City of Chicago. The papers partially reflect his many philanthropic endeavors.
  • OriginationPayne, Aaron H., 1901-1994

Old Resource ID was APayne

Legal Disclaimer: This collection contains legal papers. The burden of ethics lies with the researcher to not reveal private or confidential client information. Please alert a librarian to any content you find questionable.

Aaron H. Payne (1901 to 1994) was a Chicago-area attorney and civic activist. As an attorney, he represented Joe Louis, Nat King Cole, and Josephine Baker, among others.

Mr. Payne was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on October 1, 1901. He received his primary education in Louisville, Kentucky and his secondary education at the State Normal School in Frankfurt, Kentucky. In 1922, he received his A.B. degree in Liberal Arts from Howard University in Washington, DC. While attending Howard University, he was a member of the undefeated, and never scored upon, football team of 1920-1921. He was given honorable mention in Walter Camp's 1920-1921 All American Football and picked for the Negro All-American Team. Upon graduating, Payne accepted a job teaching at Virginia Union University.

In 1926, after studying law at the University of Chicago Law School, he was admitted to the Bar of the State of Illinois. Three years later Payne served as Assistant City Prosecutor, Assistant Corporate Counsel, and Arbitrator for the Illinois Industrial Commission. In addition, he served for several years as a member of the Legal Staff of the Chicago Transit Authority.

Later, Payne started his own legal practice. As an independent attorney, he represented heavyweight boxing champ Joe Louis in a legal matter involving problems with the Internal Revenue Service. Additionally, he represented singer-songwriter Nat King Cole in a discrimination matter taken up against the Hoffman Hotel Company.

Throughout Payne's career he was involved in politics, working in the 1930s as an assistant to Alderman Louis B. Anderson. In 1935, he ran for the office of 2nd Ward Alderman, but was defeated by William Dawson. In 1960, Payne sat for one term on the Sanitary District Civil Service Board.

Payne was also an active member of a number of civic and community groups which included: NAACP, Chicago Urban League, Fourth Ward Regular Democratic Organization, Defense Lawyers Association, and Hyde Park Neighborhood.

The Aaron H. Payne papers mainly reflect his work as an attorney and civic activist in the City of Chicago. The papers partially reflect his many philanthropic endeavors. The collection includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, scrapbooks, memos, telegrams, awards, and transcripts of speeches.

Aaron H. Payne papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago

  • Names
    • Baker, Josephine, 1906-1975
    • Cole, Nat King, 1919-1965
    • Louis, Joe, 1914-1981
    • Payne, Aaron H., 1901-1994 -- Archives
  • Subject
    • Chicago Political and Civic Life.
    • Lawyers.
  • Geographic CoverageIllinois--Chicago.