Born in Clarkston, North Carolina on Sept. 8, 1900, Major Spaulding received his undergraduate education at North Carolina State College and Cornell (1925) and an MS from Cornell (1928). While teaching agronomy in North Carolina, Spaulding entered Massachusetts State College to pursue a doctorate. Working , he received his degree in 1935 for the disseration “Factors influencing the rate of decomposition of Different Types of Plant Tissues in Soils and the Effects of Products on Plant Growth.” He is considered the first African American to receive a doctorate in agronomy from an American university.
After leaving Mass State, Spaulding enjoyed a long career as an educator at Historically Black Colleges, including Prairie View State College (1937-1938), Tuskegee Institute (1938-1940 and 1942-1945), and Langston University (1940-1942). After the Second World War, he served as Chair of the Agronomy Department at Tennessee A&I (1946-1958) and as Head of the School of Home Economics. Spauling died on Apr. 19, 1964.