1947 October 23

“An Appeal to the World”: NAACP Petition to the UN


The NAACP submitted a petition to the United Nations on this day, drafted by the great civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois, accusing the U.S. of human rights violations because of discrimination against African-Americans. Four years later, on December 17, 1951, the noted African-American singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson, on behalf of the Civil Rights Congress, submitted a petition to the UN, “We Charge Genocide,” accusing the U.S. of genocide regarding African-Americans.

The NAACP petition: “Therefore, Peoples of the World, we American Negroes appeal to you; our treatment in America is not merely an internal question of the United States. It is a basic problem of humanity; of democracy; of discrimination because of race and color; and as such it demands your attention and action. No nation is so great that the world can afford to let it continue to be deliberately unjust, cruel and unfair toward its own citizens.”

Read the full petition: http://www.blackpast.org/?q=1947-w-e-b-dubois-appeal-world-statement-denial-human-rights-minorities-case-citizens-n

Read: Gilbert Jones, Freedom’s Sword: The NAACP and the Struggle Against Racism in America, 1909–1969 (2012)

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