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|Formation||February 12, 1909|
|Purpose||"To ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination."|
|Headquarters||Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.|
|Leon W. Russell|
President and CEO
|Board of directors|
|Part of a series on|
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)is a civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909 as an interracial endeavor to advance justice for African Americans by a group including W. E. B. Du Bois, Mary White Ovington, Moorfield Storey and Ida B. Wells.
Its mission in the 21st century is "to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination". National NAACP initiatives include political lobbying, publicity efforts and litigation strategies developed by its legal team.The group enlarged its mission in the late 20th century by considering issues such as police misconduct, the status of black foreign refugees and questions of economic development. Its name, retained in accordance with tradition, uses the once common term colored people, referring to those with some African ancestry.
The NAACP bestows annual awards on African Americans in two categories: Image Awards are for achievement in the arts and entertainment, and Spingarn Medals are for outstanding achievement of any kind. Its headquarters is in Baltimore, Maryland.On June 29, 2020 Washington, D.C., radio station WTOP reported that the NAACP intends to relocate its national headquarters from its longtime home in Baltimore, Maryland, to the Franklin D. Reeves Center of Municipal Affairs, a building owned by the District of Columbia located on U and 14th Streets in Northwest Washington, D.C. Derrick Johnson, the NAACP's president and CEO, emphasized that the organization will be better able to engage in and influence change in D.C. than in Baltimore.
The NAACP is headquartered in Baltimore, with additional regional offices in New York, Michigan, Georgia, Maryland, Texas, Colorado and California.Each regional office is responsible for coordinating the efforts of state conferences in that region. Local, youth, and college chapters organize activities for individual members.
In the U.S., the NAACP is administered by a 64-member board, led by a chairperson. The board elects one person as the president and one as chief executive officer for the organization. Julian Bond, civil rights movement activist and former Georgia State Senator, was chairman until replaced in February 2010 by health-care administrator Roslyn Brock.For decades in the first half of the 20th century, the organization was effectively led by its executive secretary, who acted as chief operating officer. James Weldon Johnson and Walter F. White, who served in that role successively from 1920 to 1958, were much more widely known as NAACP leaders than were presidents during those years.
The organization has never had a woman president, except on a temporary basis, and there have been calls to name one. Lorraine C. Miller served as interim president after Benjamin Jealous stepped down. Maya Wiley was rumored to be in line for the position in 2013, but Cornell William Brooks was selected.
Departments within the NAACP govern areas of action. Local chapters are supported by the "Branch and Field Services" department and the "Youth and College" department. The "Legal" department focuses on court cases of broad application to minorities, such as systematic discrimination in employment, government, or education. The Washington, D.C., bureau is responsible for lobbying the U.S. government, and the Education Department works to improve public education at the local, state and federal levels. The goal of the Health Division is to advance health care for minorities through public policy initiatives and education.
As of 2007 [update] , the NAACP had approximately 425,000 paying and non-paying members.
The NAACP's non-current records are housed at the Library of Congress, which has served as the organization's official repository since 1964. The records held there comprise approximately five million items spanning the NAACP's history from the time of its founding until 2003. – nearly two million pages of documents, from the national, legal, and branch offices throughout the country, which offer first-hand insight into the organization's work related to such crucial issues as lynching, school desegregation, and discrimination in all its aspects (in the military, the criminal justice system, employment, housing).In 2011, the NAACP teamed with the digital repository ProQuest to digitize and host online the earlier portion of its archives, through 1972
The Pan-American Exposition of 1901 in Buffalo, New York, featured many American innovations and achievements, but also included a disparaging caricature of slave life in the South as well as a depiction of life in Africa, called "Old Plantation" and "Darkest Africa", respectively.A local African-American woman, Mary Talbert of Ohio, was appalled by the exhibit, as a similar one in Paris highlighted black achievements. She informed W. E. B. Du Bois of the situation, and a coalition began to form.
In 1905, a group of thirty-two prominent African-American leaders met to discuss the challenges facing African Americans and possible strategies and solutions. They were particularly concerned by the Southern states' disenfranchisement of blacks starting with Mississippi's passage of a new constitution in 1890. Through 1908, Southern legislatures, dominated by white Democrats, ratified new constitutions and laws creating barriers to voter registration and more complex election rules. In practice, this caused the exclusion of most blacks and many poor whites from the political system in southern states, crippling the Republican Party in most of the South. Black voter registration and turnout dropped markedly in the South as a result of such legislation. Men who had been voting for thirty years in the South were told they did not "qualify" to register.[ citation needed ] White-dominated legislatures also passed segregation and Jim Crow laws.
Because hotels in the US were segregated, the men convened in Canada at the Erie Beach Hotelon the Canadian side of the Niagara River in Fort Erie, Ontario. As a result, the group came to be known as the Niagara Movement. A year later, three non-African-Americans joined the group: journalist William English Walling, a wealthy socialist; and social workers Mary White Ovington and Henry Moskowitz. Moskowitz, who was Jewish, was then also Associate Leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture. They met in 1906 at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and in 1907 in Boston, Massachusetts.
The fledgling group struggled for a time with limited resources and internal conflict, and disbanded in 1910.Seven of the members of the Niagara Movement joined the Board of Directors of the NAACP, founded in 1909. Although both organizations shared membership and overlapped for a time, the Niagara Movement was a separate organization. Historically, it is considered to have had a more radical platform than the NAACP. The Niagara Movement was formed exclusively by African Americans. Three European Americans were among the founders of the NAACP.
The Race Riot of 1908 in Springfield, Illinois, the state capital and President Abraham Lincoln's hometown, was a catalyst showing the urgent need for an effective civil rights organization in the U.S. In the decades around the turn of the century, the rate of lynchings of blacks, particularly men, was at an all-time high. Mary White Ovington, journalist William English Walling and Henry Moskowitz met in New York City in January 1909 to work on organizing for black civil rights.They sent out solicitations for support to more than 60 prominent Americans, and set a meeting date for February 12, 1909. This was intended to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln, who emancipated enslaved African Americans. While the first large meeting did not occur until three months later, the February date is often cited as the organization's founding date.
The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909, by a larger group including African Americans W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, Archibald Grimké, Mary Church Terrell, and the previously named whites Henry Moskowitz, Mary White Ovington, William English Walling (the wealthy Socialist son of a former slave-holding family),Florence Kelley, a social reformer and friend of Du Bois; Oswald Garrison Villard, and Charles Edward Russell, a renowned muckraker and close friend of Walling. Russell helped plan the NAACP and had served as acting chairman of the National Negro Committee (1909), a forerunner to the NAACP.
On May 30, 1909, the Niagara Movement conference took place at New York City's Henry Street Settlement House; they created an organization of more than 40, identifying as the National Negro Committee.Among other founding members was Lillian Wald, a nurse who had founded the Henry Street Settlement where the conference took place.
Du Bois played a key role in organizing the event and presided over the proceedings. Also in attendance was Ida B. Wells-Barnett, an African-American journalist and anti-lynching crusader. Wells-Barnett addressed the conference on the history of lynching in the United States and called for action to publicize and prosecute such crimes.The members chose the new organization's name to be the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and elected its first officers:
The NAACP was incorporated a year later in 1911. The association's charter expressed its mission:
To promote equality of rights and eradicate caste or race prejudice among citizens of the United States; to advance the interest of colored citizens; to secure for them impartial suffrage; and to increase their opportunities for securing justice in the courts, education for their children, employment according to their ability, and complete equality before the law.
The larger conference resulted in a more diverse organization, where the leadership was predominantly white. Moorfield Storey, a white attorney from a Boston abolitionist family, served as the president of the NAACP from its founding to 1915. At its founding, the NAACP had one African American on its executive board, Du Bois. Storey was a long-time classical liberal and Grover Cleveland Democrat who advocated laissez-faire free markets, the gold standard, and anti-imperialism. Storey consistently and aggressively championed civil rights, not only for blacks but also for Native Americans and immigrants (he opposed immigration restrictions). Du Bois continued to play a pivotal leadership role in the organization, serving as editor of the association's magazine, The Crisis, which had a circulation of more than 30,000.
The Crisis was used both for news reporting and for publishing African-American poetry and literature. During the organization's campaigns against lynching, Du Bois encouraged the writing and performance of plays and other expressive literature about this issue.
The Jewish community contributed greatly to the NAACP's founding and continued financing.Jewish historian Howard Sachar writes in his book A History of Jews in America that "In 1914, Professor Emeritus Joel Spingarn of Columbia University became chairman of the NAACP and recruited for its board such Jewish leaders as Jacob Schiff, Jacob Billikopf, and Rabbi Stephen Wise."
In its early years, the NAACP was based in New York City. It concentrated on litigation in efforts to overturn disenfranchisement of blacks, which had been established in every southern state by 1908, excluding most from the political system, and the Jim Crow statutes that legalized racial segregation.
In 1913, the NAACP organized opposition to President Woodrow Wilson's introduction of racial segregation into federal government policy, workplaces, and hiring. African-American women's clubs were among the organizations that protested Wilson's changes, but the administration did not alter its assuagement of Southern cabinet members and the Southern block in Congress.
By 1914, the group had 6,000 members and 50 branches. It was influential in winning the right of African Americans to serve as military officers in World War I. Six hundred African-American officers were commissioned and 700,000 men registered for the draft. The following year, the NAACP organized a nationwide protest, with marches in numerous cities, against D. W. Griffith's silent movie The Birth of a Nation, a film that glamorized the Ku Klux Klan. As a result, several cities refused to allow the film to open.
The NAACP began to lead lawsuits targeting disfranchisement and racial segregation early in its history. It played a significant part in the challenge of Guinn v. United States (1915) to Oklahoma's discriminatory grandfather clause, which effectively disenfranchised most black citizens while exempting many whites from certain voter registration requirements. It persuaded the Supreme Court of the United States to rule in Buchanan v. Warley in 1917 that state and local governments cannot officially segregate African Americans into separate residential districts. The Court's opinion reflected the jurisprudence of property rights and freedom of contract as embodied in the earlier precedent it established in Lochner v. New York .
In 1916, chairman Joel Spingarn invited James Weldon Johnson to serve as field secretary. Johnson was a former U.S. consul to Venezuela and a noted African-American scholar and columnist. Within four years, Johnson was instrumental in increasing the NAACP's membership from 9,000 to almost 90,000. In 1920, Johnson was elected head of the organization. Over the next ten years, the NAACP escalated its lobbying and litigation efforts, becoming internationally known for its advocacy of equal rights and equal protection for the "American Negro".
The NAACP devoted much of its energy during the interwar years to fighting the lynching of blacks throughout the United States by working for legislation, lobbying and educating the public. The organization sent its field secretary Walter F. White to Phillips County, Arkansas, in October 1919, to investigate the Elaine Race Riot. Roving white vigilantes killed more than 200 black tenant farmers and federal troops after a deputy sheriff's attack on a union meeting of sharecroppers left one white man dead. White published his report on the riot in the Chicago Daily News. (1923) that significantly expanded the Federal courts' oversight of the states' criminal justice systems in the years to come. White investigated eight race riots and 41 lynchings for the NAACP and directed its study Thirty Years of Lynching in the United States.The NAACP organized the appeals for twelve black men sentenced to death a month later based on the fact that testimony used in their convictions was obtained by beatings and electric shocks. It gained a groundbreaking Supreme Court decision in Moore v. Dempsey 261 U.S. 86
The NAACP also worked for more than a decade seeking federal anti-lynching legislation, but the Solid South of white Democrats voted as a bloc against it or used the filibuster in the Senate to block passage. Because of disenfranchisement, African Americans in the South were unable to elect representatives of their choice to office. The NAACP regularly displayed a black flag stating "A Man Was Lynched Yesterday" from the window of its offices in New York to mark each lynching.
In alliance with the American Federation of Labor, the NAACP led the successful fight to prevent the nomination of John Johnston Parker to the Supreme Court, based on his support for denying the vote to blacks and his anti-labor rulings. It organized legal support for the Scottsboro Boys. The NAACP lost most of the internecine battles with the Communist Party and International Labor Defense over the control of those cases and the legal strategy to be pursued in that case.
The organization also brought litigation to challenge the "white primary" system in the South. Southern state Democratic parties had created white-only primaries as another way of barring blacks from the political process. Since the Democrats dominated southern states, the primaries were the only competitive contests. In 1944 in Smith v. Allwright , the Supreme Court ruled against the white primary. Although states had to retract legislation related to the white primaries, the legislatures soon came up with new methods to severely limit the franchise for blacks.
The board of directors of the NAACP created the Legal Defense Fund in 1939 specifically for tax purposes. It functioned as the NAACP legal department. Intimidated by the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service, the Legal and Educational Defense Fund, Inc., became a separate legal entity in 1957, although it was clear that it was to operate in accordance with NAACP policy. After 1961 serious disputes emerged between the two organizations, creating considerable confusion in the eyes and minds of the public.
By the 1940s, the federal courts were amenable to lawsuits regarding constitutional rights, against which Congressional action was virtually impossible. With the rise of private corporate litigators such as the NAACP to bear the expense, civil suits became the pattern in modern civil rights litigation,and the public face of the Civil Rights Movement. The NAACP's Legal department, headed by Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall, undertook a campaign spanning several decades to bring about the reversal of the "separate but equal" doctrine announced by the Supreme Court's decision in Plessy v. Ferguson .
The NAACP's Baltimore chapter, under president Lillie Mae Carroll Jackson, challenged segregation in Maryland state professional schools by supporting the 1935 Murray v. Pearson case argued by Marshall. Houston's victory in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada (1938) led to the formation of the Legal Defense Fund in 1939.
The campaign for desegregation culminated in a unanimous 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education that held state-sponsored segregation of public elementary schools was unconstitutional. Bolstered by that victory, the NAACP pushed for full desegregation throughout the South. (1958), the NAACP lost its leadership role in the Civil Rights Movement while it was barred from Alabama.NAACP activists were excited about the judicial strategy. Starting on December 5, 1955, NAACP activists, including Edgar Nixon, its local president, and Rosa Parks, who had served as the chapter's Secretary, helped organize a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. This was designed to protest segregation on the city's buses, two-thirds of whose riders were black. The boycott lasted 381 days. In 1956 the South Carolina legislature created an anti-NAACP oath, and teachers who refused to take the oath lost their positions. After twenty-one Black teachers at the Elloree Training School refused to comply, White school officials dismissed them. Their dismissal led to Bryan v. Austin in 1957, which became an important civil rights case. In Alabama, the state responded by effectively barring the NAACP from operating within its borders because of its refusal to divulge a list of its members. The NAACP feared members could be fired or face violent retaliation for their activities. Although the Supreme Court eventually overturned the state's action in NAACP v. Alabama , 357 U.S. 449
New organizations such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC, in 1957) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, in 1960) rose up with different approaches to activism. Rather than relying on litigation and legislation, these newer groups employed direct action and mass mobilization to advance the rights of African Americans. Roy Wilkins, NAACP's executive director, clashed repeatedly with Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders over questions of strategy and leadership within the movement.
The NAACP continued to use the Supreme Court's decision in Brown to press for desegregation of schools and public facilities throughout the country. Daisy Bates, president of its Arkansas state chapter, spearheaded the campaign by the Little Rock Nine to integrate the public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas.
By the mid-1960s, the NAACP had regained some of its prominence in the Civil Rights Movement by pressing for civil rights legislation. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place on August 28, 1963. That fall, President John F. Kennedy sent a civil rights bill to Congress before he was assassinated.
President Lyndon B. Johnson worked hard to persuade Congress to pass a civil rights bill aimed at ending racial discrimination in employment, education and public accommodations, and succeeded in gaining passage in July 1964. He followed that with passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which provided for protection of the franchise, with a role for federal oversight and administrators in places where voter turnout was historically low.
Under its anti-desegregation director J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI's COINTELPRO program targeted civil rights groups, including the NAACP, for infiltration, disruption and discreditation.
Kivie Kaplan became NAACP President in 1966. After his death in 1975, scientist W. Montague Cobb took over until 1982. Roy Wilkins retired as executive director in 1977, and Benjamin Hooks, a lawyer and clergyman, was elected his successor.
In the 1990s, the NAACP ran into debt. The dismissal of two leading officials further added to the picture of an organization in deep crisis.
In 1993, the NAACP's Board of Directors narrowly selected Reverend Benjamin Chavis over Reverend Jesse Jackson to fill the position of Executive Director. A controversial figure, Chavis was ousted eighteen months later by the same board. They accused him of using NAACP funds for an out-of-court settlement in a sexual harassment lawsuit.Following the dismissal of Chavis, Myrlie Evers-Williams narrowly defeated NAACP chairperson William Gibson for president in 1995, after Gibson was accused of overspending and mismanagement of the organization's funds.
In 1996, Congressman Kweisi Mfume, a Democratic Congressman from Maryland and former head of the Congressional Black Caucus, was named the organization's president. Three years later strained finances forced the organization to drastically cut its staff, from 250 in 1992 to 50.
In the second half of the 1990s, the organization restored its finances, permitting the NAACP National Voter Fund to launch a major get-out-the-vote offensive in the 2000 U.S. presidential elections. 10.5 million African Americans cast their ballots in the election; this was one million more than four years before.The NAACP's effort was credited by observers as playing a significant role in Democrat Al Gore's winning several states where the election was close, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan.
During the 2000 presidential election, Lee Alcorn, president of the Dallas NAACP branch, criticized Al Gore's selection of Senator Joe Lieberman for his vice-presidential candidate because Lieberman was Jewish. On a gospel talk radio show on station KHVN, Alcorn stated, "If we get a Jew person, then what I'm wondering is, I mean, what is this movement for, you know? Does it have anything to do with the failed peace talks? ... So I think we need to be very suspicious of any kind of partnerships between the Jews at that kind of level because we know that their interest primarily has to do with money and these kind of things."
NAACP President Kweisi Mfume immediately suspended Alcorn and condemned his remarks. Mfume stated,
I strongly condemn those remarks. I find them to be repulsive, anti-Semitic, anti-NAACP and anti-American. Mr. Alcorn does not speak for the NAACP, its board, its staff or its membership. We are proud of our long-standing relationship with the Jewish community and I personally will not tolerate statements that run counter to the history and beliefs of the NAACP in that regard.
Alcorn, who had been suspended three times in the previous five years for misconduct, subsequently resigned from the NAACP. He founded what he called the Coalition for the Advancement of Civil Rights. Alcorn criticized the NAACP, saying, "I can't support the leadership of the NAACP. Large amounts of money are being given to them by large corporations with which I have a problem."Alcorn also said, "I cannot be bought. For this reason I gladly offer my resignation and my membership to the NAACP because I cannot work under these constraints."
Alcorn's remarks were also condemned by the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Jewish groups and George W. Bush's rival Republican presidential campaign. Jackson said he strongly supported Lieberman's addition to the Democratic ticket, saying, "When we live our faith, we live under the law. He [Lieberman] is a firewall of exemplary behavior."Al Sharpton, another prominent African-American leader, said, "The appointment of Mr. Lieberman was to be welcomed as a positive step." The leaders of the American Jewish Congress praised the NAACP for its quick response, stating that: "It will take more than one bigot like Alcorn to shake the sense of fellowship of American Jews with the NAACP and black America ... Our common concerns are too urgent, our history too long, our connection too sturdy, to let anything like this disturb our relationship."
In 2004, President George W. Bush declined an invitation to speak to the NAACP's national convention.Bush's spokesperson said that Bush had declined the invitation to speak to the NAACP because of harsh statements about him by its leaders. In an interview, Bush said, "I would describe my relationship with the current leadership as basically nonexistent. You've heard the rhetoric and the names they've called me." Bush said he admired some members of the NAACP and would seek to work with them "in other ways".
On July 20, 2006, Bush addressed the NAACP national convention. He made a bid for increasing support by African Americans for Republicans, in the midst of a midterm election. He referred to Republican Party support for civil rights.
In October 2004, the Internal Revenue Service informed the NAACP that it was investigating its tax-exempt status based on chairman Julian Bond's speech at its 2004 Convention, in which he criticized President George W. Bush as well as other political figures.In general, the US Internal Revenue Code prohibits organizations granted tax-exempt status from "directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office." The NAACP denounced the investigation as retaliation for its success in increasing the number of African Americans who were voting. In August 2006, the IRS investigation concluded with the agency's finding "that the remarks did not violate the group's tax-exempt status."
As the American LGBT rights movement gained steam after the Stonewall riots of 1969, the NAACP became increasingly affected by the movement to gain rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. While chairman of the NAACP, Bond became an outspoken supporter of the rights of gays and lesbians and stated his support for same-sex marriage. He boycotted the 2006 funeral services for Coretta Scott King, as he said the King children had chosen an anti-gay megachurch. This was in contradiction to their mother's longstanding support for the rights of gay and lesbian people.In a 2005 speech in Richmond, Virginia, Bond said:
In a 2007 speech on the Martin Luther King Day Celebration at Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia, Bond said, "If you don't like gay marriage, don't get gay married." His positions have pitted elements of the NAACP against religious groups in the civil rights movement who oppose gay marriage, mostly within the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The NAACP became increasingly vocal in opposition against state-level constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage and related rights. State NAACP leaders such as William J. Barber, II of North Carolina participated actively against North Carolina Amendment 1 in 2012, but conservative voters passed it.
On May 19, 2012, the NAACP's board of directors formally endorsed same-sex marriage as a civil right, voting 62–2 for the policy in a Miami, Florida quarterly meeting.Benjamin Jealous, the organization's president, said of the decision, "Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. ... The NAACP's support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people." Possibly significant in the NAACP's vote was its concern with the HIV/AIDS crisis in the black community; while AIDS support organizations recommend that people live a monogamous lifestyle, the government did not recognize same-sex relationships as part of this. As a result of this endorsement, Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr. of Des Moines, Iowa, resigned from the NAACP board.
On June 7, 2017, the NAACP issued a warning for African-American travelers to Missouri:
Individuals traveling in the state are advised to travel with extreme CAUTION. Race, gender and color based crimes have a long history in Missouri. Missouri, home of Lloyd Gaines, Dred Scott and the dubious distinction of the Missouri Compromise and one of the last states to lose its slaveholding past, may not be safe. ... [Missouri Senate Bill] SB 43 legalizes individual discrimination and harassment in Missouri and would prevent individuals from protecting themselves from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in Missouri.
Moreover, over-zealous enforcement of routine traffic violations in Missouri against African Americans has resulted in an increasing trend that shows African Americans are 75% more likely to be stopped than Caucasians.
Missouri NAACP Conference president Rod Chapel, Jr., suggested that visitors to Missouri "should have bail money."
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The organization's national initiatives, political lobbying, and publicity efforts were handled by the headquarters staff in New York and Washington, DC. Court strategies were developed by the legal team based for many years at Howard University.
NAACP local branches have also been important. When, in its early years, the national office launched campaigns against The Birth of a Nation, it was the local branches that carried out the boycotts. When the organization fought to expose and outlaw lynching, the branches carried the campaign into hundreds of communities. And while the Legal Defense Fund developed a federal court strategy of legal challenges to segregation, many branches fought discrimination using state laws and local political opportunities, sometimes winning important victories.
Those victories were mostly achieved in Northern and Western states before World War II. When the Southern civil rights movement gained momentum in the 1940s and 1950s, credit went both to the Legal Defense Fund attorneys and to the massive network of local branches that Ella Baker and other organizers had spread across the region.
Local organizations built a culture of black political activism.
Youth sections of the NAACP were established in 1936; there are now more than 600 groups with a total of more than 30,000 individuals in this category. The NAACP Youth & College Division is a branch of the NAACP in which youth are actively involved. The Youth Council is composed of hundreds of state, county, high school and college operations where youth (and college students) volunteer to share their opinions with their peers and address issues that are local and national. Sometimes volunteer work expands to a more international scale.
"The mission of the NAACP Youth & College Division shall be to inform youth of the problems affecting African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities; to advance the economic, education, social and political status of African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities and their harmonious cooperation with other peoples; to stimulate an appreciation of the African Diaspora and other African Americans' contribution to civilization; and to develop an intelligent, militant effective youth leadership."
Since 1978, the NAACP has sponsored the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) program for high school youth around the United States. The program is designed to recognize and award African-American youth who demonstrate accomplishment in academics, technology, and the arts. Local chapters sponsor competitions in various categories for young people in grades 9–12. Winners of the local competitions are eligible to proceed to the national event at a convention held each summer at locations around the United States. Winners at the national competition receive national recognition, along with cash awards and various prizes.
The environmental justice group at NAACP has 11 full-time staff members. In April 2019, the NAACP published a report outlining the tactics used by the fossil fuel industry. The report claims that "Fossil fuel companies target the NAACP for manipulation and co-optation."The NAACP has been concerned about the influence of utilities which have contributed massive amounts of money to NAACP chapters in return for chapter support of non-environmentally friendly goals of utilities. In response, the NAACP has been working with its chapters to encourage them to support environmentally sound policies.
The Niagara Movement (NM) was a black civil rights organization founded in 1905 by a group of activists – many of whom were among the vanguard of African-American lawyers in the United States – led by W. E. B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter. It was named for the "mighty current" of change the group wanted to effect and Niagara Falls, near Fort Erie, Ontario, where the first meeting took place, in July 1905. The Niagara Movement was organized to oppose racial segregation and disenfranchisement. It opposed what its members believed were policies of accommodation and conciliation promoted by African-American leaders such as Booker T. Washington.
William Monroe Trotter, sometimes just Monroe Trotter, was a newspaper editor and real estate businessman based in Boston, Massachusetts, and an activist for African-American civil rights. He was an early opponent of the accommodationist race policies of Booker T. Washington, and in 1901 founded the Boston Guardian, an independent African-American newspaper he used to express that opposition. Active in protest movements for civil rights throughout the 1900s and 1910s, he also revealed some of the differences within the African-American community. He contributed to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Walter Francis White was an African-American civil rights activist who led the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for a quarter of a century, 1929–1955, after joining the organization as an investigator in 1918. He directed a broad program of legal challenges to racial segregation and disfranchisement. He was also a journalist, novelist, and essayist. He graduated in 1916 from Atlanta University.
John Hope, born in Augusta, Georgia, was an American educator and political activist, the first African-descended president of both Morehouse College in 1906 and of Atlanta University in 1929, where he worked to develop graduate programs. Both are historically Black colleges.
Mary White Ovington was an American suffragist, journalist, and co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Carrie Williams Clifford was an author, clubwoman, and activist in the women's rights and civil rights movements in the United States.
The civil rights movement (1896–1954) was a long, primarily nonviolent series of events to bring full civil rights and equality under the law to all Americans. The era has had a lasting impact on American society – in its tactics, the increased social and legal acceptance of civil rights, and in its exposure of the prevalence and cost of racism.
The American Crusade Against Lynching (ACAL) was an organization created in 1946 and headed by Paul Robeson, dedicated to eliminating lynching in the United States. A strong advocate of the Civil Rights Movement, Robeson believed "a fraternity must be established in which success and achievement are recognized and those deserving receive the respect, honor and dignity due them." In his speech "The New Idealism", delivered as a Rutgers College valedictory address, Robeson supported the idea that all – both colored and white people – need to take part in the creation of the new "American Idealism"; which led to the development of the American Crusade Against Lynching.
Arthur Barnette Spingarn was an American leader in the fight for civil rights for African Americans.
The National Negro Committee was created in response to the Springfield race riot of 1908 against the black community in Springfield, Illinois. Prominent black activists and white progressives called for a national conference to discuss African American civil rights. They met to address the social, economic, and political rights of African Americans. This gathering served as the predecessor to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which was formally named during the second meeting in May 1910.
Mary Burnett Talbert was an American orator, activist, suffragist and reformer. Called "the best known Colored Woman in the United States," Talbert was among the most prominent African Americans of her time. In 2005, Talbert was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
J.R. Clifford was West Virginia's first African-American attorney. Clifford was also a newspaper publisher, editor and writer, school teacher, and principal. He was a Civil War veteran, grandfather, as well as a civil rights pioneer and founding member of the Niagara Movement. Despite boundaries derived from racial discrimination, Clifford's accomplishments were great, reflecting his ability and determination.
The National Equal Rights League (NERL) is the oldest nationwide human rights organization founded in Syracuse, New York in 1864 dedicated to the liberation of black people in the United States. Its origins can be traced back to the emancipation of slaves in the British West Indies in 1833. The league emphasized moral reform and self-help, aiming "to encourage sound morality, education, temperance, frugality, industry, and promote everything that pertains to a well-ordered and dignified life." Black leaders formed state and local branches of the league which drew many members, which caused the society to grow quickly, in areas such as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where people such as Thomas Morris Chester joined.
The National Afro-American Council, the first nationwide civil rights organization in the United States, was created in 1898 in Rochester, New York. Before its dissolution a decade later, the Council provided both the first national arena for discussion of critical issues for African Americans and a training ground for some of the nation's most famous civil rights leaders in the 1910s, 1920s, and beyond.
Daisy Elizabeth Adams Lampkin was an American suffragist, civil rights activist, organization executive, and community practitioner whose career spanned over half a century. Lampkin’s effective skills as an orator, fundraiser, organizer, and political activist guided the work being conducted by the National Association of Colored Women (NACW); National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); National Council of Negro Women and other leading civil rights organizations of the Progressive Era.
The anti-lynching movement was an organized public effort in the United States that aimed to eradicate the practice of lynching. Lynching was used as a tool to repress African Americans. The anti-lynching movement reached its height between the 1890s and 1930s. The first recorded lynching in the United States was in 1835 in St. Louis, when an accused killer of a deputy sheriff was captured while being taken to jail. The black man named Macintosh was chained to a tree and burned to death. The movement was composed mainly of African Americans who tried to persuade politicians to put an end to the practice, but after the failure of this strategy, they pushed for anti-lynching legislation. African-American women helped in the formation of the movement, and a large part of the movement was composed of women's organizations.
The Colored Conventions Movement, or Negro Convention Movement, was a series of national, regional, and state conventions held irregularly during the decades preceding and following the American Civil War. The delegates who attended these conventions consisted of both free and fugitive African Americans including religious leaders, businessmen, politicians, writers, publishers, and abolitionists. The conventions provided "an organizational structure through which black men could maintain a distinct black leadership and pursue black abolitionist goals."
Lafayette M. Hershaw was a journalist, lawyer, and a clerk and law examiner for the General Land Office of the United States Department of the Interior. He was a key intellectual figure among African Americans in Atlanta in the 1880s and in Washington, D.C., from 1890 until his death. He was a leader of the intellectual social groups in the capital such as Bethel Literary and Historical Society and the Pen and Pencil Club. He was a strong supporter of W. E. B. Du Bois and was one of the thirteen organizers of the Niagara Movement, the forerunner to the NAACP. He was an officer of the D.C. Branch of the NAACP from its inception until 1928. He was also a founder of the Robert H. Terrell Law School and served as the school's president.
Mary Evans Wilson (1866-1928) was one of Boston's leading civil rights activists. She was a founding member of the Boston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the founder of the Women's Service Club.
Clement Garnett Morgan (1859-1929) was an American attorney, civil rights activist, and city official of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Born into slavery in Virginia and freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, he trained as a barber before moving to Massachusetts to pursue his education. He was the first African American to earn degrees from both Harvard University and its law school; the first African American to deliver Harvard's senior class oration; and the first black alderman in New England. As an attorney he handled many civil rights cases, in one instance closing down a segregated school. He was a founding member of the Niagara Movement and of the Boston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
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