NAACP; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
We need new members to join the fight
There are certain acronyms used in our society that we are accustomed to. The acronym NAACP is one of them. As of 2023, it is a safe assumption that many Americans understand the acronyms NAACP and what group it represents. The NAACP stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. (NAACP, 2022) In this article, we will highlight the origin of the NAACP and some of our local branches here in New Mexico.
In 1908 there was a race riot in Springfield, Illinois. During the Springfield race riot, two Black people were murdered, businesses were destroyed, and 40 African American homes were burned down. (History.com Editors, 2022) This action of hate ignited the birth of the Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The Black/African American Community needed a national organization that would have a primary focus and goal of working toward the advancement of our people. The focus would also be to combat the white agenda to stop the progress of Colored People.
African Americans such as W.E.B. Du Bois, IDA B. Wells-Barnett, and white liberals such as Mary White Ovington and Oswald Garrison Villard came together to create the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. On February 12, 1909, the nation’s largest and most widely recognized civil rights organization was born. (History.com Editors, 2022). As the Director of Publication and Research, Du Bois started “The Crisis,” which became the leading publication for African American writers.
The NAACP focused on the advancement of African American people by challenging national laws to address judicial issues. For example, the NAACP challenged the “grandfather clause,” which discriminated against African Americans’ right to vote. The grandfather clause discriminated against illiterate Black people, whose ancestors weren’t afforded the right to vote- despite the 15th Amendment. (History.com Editors, 2022) The NAACP played a key role in the 1915 Guinn V. United States supreme court ruling stating that the grandfather clause was unconstitutional (citation).
In addition, the NAACP would play a critical role in major court case rulings and legal statutes throughout the 20th century like, the Brown v. Board of Education case, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and so much more. Many civil rights leaders, such as Medgar Evers and attorney Thurgood Marshall were a part of this organization and advocated for our people’s advancement.
In 1917 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People led a silent march to protest the lynchings of African Americans. The NAACP started an anti-lynching crusade and attempted to get a federal anti-lynching law passed. It took over 100 years, but on March 29, 2022, the, “Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act” was signed into law by President Joe Biden. (House, 2022) Now lynching is a hate crime. As President Biden said, “Racial hate isn’t an old problem-it’s a persistent problem.” (Finn, 2022)
As of 2022, the NAACP has more than 2,200 branches and more than half a million members worldwide. (History.com Editors, 2022) In New Mexico, our main branch is in Carlsbad, New Mexico but there are multiple branches around New Mexico (Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Dona Ana, Hobbs etc.) The Office of African American Affairs recently went to the NM State 71st NAACP conference in Hobbs, New Mexico, in October 2022. There were multiple organizations and evolving conversations. As you know, creating a healthy succession is important in carrying the torch in organizations such as the NAACP. If you’re interested in learning more about the history, mission and governing body of the NAACP, reach out to one of the New Mexico branches. The main branch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 575-706-1934. Get involved.