1909 February 12

NAACP Founded – Civil Rights Crusade Begins


The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), founded on this day, quickly became the largest African-American civil rights organization in the country. The NAACP grew out of the Niagara Movement, which itself was founded on July 11, 1905. In the 1920s and 1930s, the NAACP led a long fight for a federal anti-lynching law (see the campaign’s origins on  April 1, 1918; May 5, 1919).

The NAACP litigation program was handled by a closely related but legally separate organization, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. (often referred to as simply LDF), which was established on October 11, 1939. The NAACP is still the largest African-American civil rights group in terms of membership. It also maintains a large lobbying office for issues in Congress. Technically, the LDF won the historic Brown v. Board of Education case on May 17, 1954, as well as the school and college education cases leading up to it.

Learn about the NAACP’s history: http://www.naacp.org/pages/naacp-history

Go to the NAACP web site: http://www.naacp.org

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

Watch NAACP Chairperson Roy Wilkins in 1958: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJBsL6KWpfY

Learn more about African American history: Henry Louis Gates, Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008 (2011)

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