CWRU Links
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CHAUNCEY, HERBERT S.

CHAUNCEY, HERBERT S.

CHAUNCEY, HERBERT S. (16 Apr. 1887-22 June 1930), business and civic leader, was appointed in 1929 as the first African American member of the Cleveland City Planning Commission (see CITY PLANNING). Born in Eastman, Georgia, to Coleman and Marietta Chauncey, he was educated at Talladega College. After becoming a railway postal clerk, he transferred to Cleveland. He attended law school at night and later left the mail service to open a law office. In 1919 Chauncey obtained a state charter for the African-American-owned EMPIRE SAVINGS AND LOAN COMPANY, with shareholders such as NORMAN L. MCGHEE, SR. He also created the People's Realty to serve AFRICAN AMERICANS. Chauncey organized two mutual societies, the Modern Crusaders of the World (1926) and the Crusaders Mutual Insurance Society (1927), which provided sick, accident and death benefits to members. These societies later consolidated with others into the Dunbar Mutual Insurance Society (1935, acquired by the SUPREME LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA in 1960). Chauncey convened the Cleveland Businessmen's Association in 1925, the forerunner of the Progressive Business Alliance (1939, later the Cleveland Business League). Chauncey and his wife, Benton, had a daughter, Rose Marie (d. 1943). He died in Cleveland and was buried at Highland Park Cemetery.


See also BUSINESS, RETAILAFRICAN AMERICANS