Robert Bagnall (1883–1943), a second generation Episcopal priest, was born in Norfolk, Virginia. Like his father, he attended Bishop Payne Divinity School in nearby Petersburg. In 1911 he became rector of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Detroit. As a founder of the Detroit NAACP he led successful campaigns against school segregation, police brutality, and discrimination at the Ford Motor Company. He was made NAACP district organizer of the Great Lakes region in 1918 and promoted to director of branches in 1919. Bagnall traveled across the country to NAACP branches raising funds for the national office. Under his leadership, the branch department became the NAACP’s backbone. In 1931 the NAACP dismissed him because of declining revenue. The following year Bagnall returned to the ministry as rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, where he served until his death in 1943.