Born In Raleigh, North Carolina, In 1892, Yergan First Engaged In Missionary Work In East Africa. In Addition To His Legal Duties, He Helped Train Hospital Orderlies And Introduced Motion Pictures To The Villagers. Health Problems Forced Him To Return To The United States, But He Later Went Back To The African Continent As A Missionary To South Africa In 1921. In This Capacity, He Served As The American Secretary Of The YMCA's "Colored Work" Division for 10 Years, While Keeping A Full Schedule Of Religious And Social Duties. After A Failed Attempt To Radicalize The YMCA And Take The Organization In A Different Direction Socially, Dr. Yeargan Resigned His Position.
Yergan's Exposure To The Brutality Of Colonial White Rule In South Africa Caused Him To Veer Away From Mainstream, Liberal Civil Rights Organizations. In The Span Of 30 Years He Embraced Marxism (Along With Paul Robeson, He Co-Founded The International Committee On African Affairs, 1937 - Later Named the Council on African Affairs), Became An Ultra Conservative/Staunch Anti Communist During The Cold War, And Even Praised Aspects Of The South African "separate development" Plan In 1964.
During His Career Yergan Also Served As The Second President Of The National Negro Congress, A Coalition Of Hundreds Of Black American Organizations Created In 1935, By Religious, Labor, Civic And Fraternal Leaders, To Fight Racial Discrimination, Establish Relations With Black Organizations Throughout The World And Oppose The Deportation Of Black Immigrants.
He Was The First Black American Faculty Member Hired To Teach At One Of New York's Public Colleges-- Teaching “Negro History and Culture” In The Fall Of 1937, At City College Of New York. In the Last Decade Of Life He Co-chaired The Conservative Group, "American-African Affairs Association."
Max Yergan Died In 1975.
"In Order For Black History To Live, We Must Continue To Breathe Life Into It." - Hubert Gaddy, Jr.