NAACP: The National Association for the Advancement of Coloued People

The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) was established on February 12th, 1909 and was originally named the ‘National Negro Committee’. This association was founded by a white man from Kentucky, William English Walling, who saw a ‘need for a nation-wide effort to combat evil’. The NAACP philosophy was originally based on 18th Century liberalism as well as the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence; because of this, the NAACP strongly believed that non-violent protests and legitimate legal actions were the best way to achieve equal rights for all Americans.Throughout the Civil Rights Movements, the NAACP took a strictly passive-aggressive approach. They actively supported Martin Luther King (MLK) and his beliefs in Christianity and greatly assisted the development of his non-violent campaign. The NAACP is based around the idea that all people are created equal and since its establishment it has advocated for the fair and equal treatment of African Americans.

The NAACP played an imperative role in the Civil Rights Movements and the impact that they had on African American rights was unparalleled by any other Civil Rights group in America. Throughout the Civil Rights Movements, the NAACP firmly maintained their non-violent approach (accompanied by Martin Luther King) and majorly inspired countless Civil Rights protests, court cases and law changes (it is believed that the NAACPs contributions and achievements were overshadowed by Martin Luther King’s campaigning).

Since its establishment in 1909, the NAACP has contributed largely to the success of many history changing civil rights movements throughout the US. Some of the most influential of these include: 1913- opposed president Woodrow Wilsons introduction of ‘Jim Crows’ laws of segregation into the federal government; 1935- legal fight was won by Thurgood Marshall and Charles Houston, allowing an African American student to attend the University of Maryland; 1940- founding of NAACP Legal Defence and Educational Fund, Inc. 1948 Morgan vs. Virginia court case- Court bans states from having laws that sanction segregation facilities in interstate travel by train or bus; 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education court case- successfully de-segregated public schools (led by Thurgood Marshall);

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1955-56 Montgomery Bus Boycott- non-violent protest which resulted in the de-segregation of public transport- Martin Luther King also emerged during this protest along with his organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; 1960 Greensboro- youth of NAACP launched ‘sit-ins’ (sitting at and taking up all of the seats at counters of various diners) which led to 60 stores de-segregating their counters- also led to the development of the Student Non-violent Co-ordination Committee (SNCC); 1963- NAACP pushed for Equal Opportunity Employment act; 1964- 55years after the formation of NAACP, Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress; 1965- Voting Rights Act was passed.

Due to the NAACPs non-violent platform, achieving all of this was not easy and many different protest methods were used during the Civil Rights Movements to achieve results including the use of picket signs (displaying campaign slogans for equality, de-segregation, voting rights, justice, anti-lynching etc. , marches being held (March on Washington- accompanying Martin Luther King) and newspaper article being displayed (featured in the NAACPs magazine- ‘The Crisis’- edited by co-founder of NAACP, WEB Du Bois, as well as in the public newspapers). The legacy and significance of the NAACP is evidently displayed through their astounding achievements during the civil rights movements. The NAACP is both the oldest and largest Civil Rights group in the world and is recognised world-wide because of its contributions to African American rights.

This association began in 1909 with only 60 founding members but has since gained monumental recognition with its membership reaching over 500,000- including people of all ethnicities; because of its outstanding size, the NAACP has a headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland as well as a large array of regional offices located in California, New York, Michigan, Missouri, Georgia, Texas, and Maryland.

During the Civil Rights Movements, the NAACP gained both recognition and respect and as a result of this, some of its members also became very highly regarded in the political world- evidence of this would be Thurgood Marshall and his appointment, first to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1961, and then to the position of Solicitor General in 1965 (he was the first African American to hold the office).

Over the past 102 years, the NAACP has been highly involved with innumerable Civil Rights protests, court cases, rallies and campaigns and contributed more to achieving African American rights than any other civil rights group, world-wide.