I was featured on the front page of the Tuesday February 20, 2018 Monroe News. The article was titled “Resurgence: Push is on to reactivate the NAACP in Monroe”. Coincidentally, on page 8A of the same edition was another article titled “Diversity Pays: ‘Black Panther’ scratches hunger for inclusivity”. Some key words common to both articles are “diversity”, “inclusivity”, and “unity”. One article focused on entertainment, the other focused on action, both with a common purpose.
I am writing this article to dispel any notions about the NAACP being an African-American only organization or one that is divisive. To the contrary, the purpose of the NAACP is to unify all people with a common cause. The Monroe News NAACP article states that “…one’s skin color or ethnicity shouldn’t have an impact on whether a person wants to join the organization. The group focuses on civil rights for all people.” Indeed, the NAACP is about ALL people. That is clear in its mission, which is “To ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.
Here are a few salient facts about the NAACP.
The NAACP or National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was established in 1909 and is America’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. It was formed in New York City by white and black activists, partially in response to the ongoing violence against African Americans around the country. In the NAACP’s early decades, its anti-lynching campaign was central to its agenda. During the civil rights era in the 1950s and 1960s, the group won major legal victories, and today the NAACP has more than 2,200 branches and some half a million members worldwide.
Some additional facts:
- Former Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall was NAACP’s chief legal counsel who argued and won Brown vs. the Board of Education in 1954 – desegregating public schools.
- Mary White Ovington, a white female was first Board chair, and a white lawyer, Moorfield Storey was its first president; the only black person on the initial leadership team was W.E.B. Du Bois
- The NAACP successfully lobbied for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin; and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, barring racial discrimination in voting,.
Among famous whites who belonged to the NAACP were: Albert Einstein, John Dewey, Jane Addams and Eleanor Roosevelt. Roosevelt served on the NAACP board of directors. Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. both belonged to the Montgomery, Ala., NAACP. But as a result of the Montgomery bus boycott, Alabama outlawed the NAACP, and so King and others formed the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC). Unlike the NAACP, which tended to wage its battles in the court, the SCLC emphasized nonviolent direct action.
So for those who are interested in ensuring civil rights, racial justice, non-discrimination, social justice equal rights for all, unity, and believe that America and Monroe are not where we need to be, this is an opportunity to join other like-minded individuals as we attempt to take our entire community to the next level.