National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in New York, 1910 by Ida Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. DuBois, Henry Moscowitz, Mary White Ovington, Oswald Garrison Villiard and William English Walling. They felt that an organization is essential to fight for the rights of African-American. Before the NACCP was founded, Mary White Ovington had done extensive research on the lives of African-American in the New York City.
Mary Ovington had a big concern over the African-American’s unsuitable life in the country. She did four years of extensive research on the lives of unhealthy housing conditions and the lack of work opportunities for African Americans. In summer 1908, Springfield race riot shocked America where many African American were killed or injured. It was from this event that initiated the formation of NAACP.
Soon articles concerning the Springfield riots appeared in the newspapers and magazines. William English Walling wrote the Independent of September 3rd, entitled “Race War in the North. In his declaration, he mentioned that America has to start treating the ‘colored people’ equally like the white people or the race war will never end in America. He summoned the civil rights activists to meet and form an organization that would fight for the Black civil and political rights and give an end to the racial discrimination in America.
A few years before 1905, a group of prominent, African American gathered to discuss the problems that African American faced in that era. The group later called as the Niagara movement. In January 1909, Walling and Ovington met in New York along with Dr. Henry Moskowitz, John Purroy Mitchell to found the NAACP.
The Niagara movement conference held on May 30 1909 in New York attended by 40 individuals from National Negro Committee including a Harvard scholar W.E.B. DuBois, American journalist and anti-lynching crusader Ida Wells-Barnett. The name National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was chosen later at the second congress in May 1910.
The mission of this organization was to promote the equality of rights; and to eradicate caste and race prejudice among the citizens of the United States; to advance the interest of colored citizens; to secure for them impartial suffrage; and to increase their opportunities for securing justice in the courts, education for the children, employment according to their ability and complete equality before law; mentioned in its charter. This NAACP in the progressive era and soon it became the dominant and effective organization for Black people in US.
The progressive era (1890-1920) was meant to reform the social economy and political aspects in America. However there were some drawbacks in the racism issues, even among the progressive scientists; such as Lester Ward, Charles H. Cooley, and E.A. Ross, who believed that the dark races inherent inferior IQ or intelligence. Many Black leaders joined the white socialist movement, including Du Bois, Cyril Briggs, Chandler Owen and A. Philip Randolph as many middle class felt ignored in their existence in the larger America.
There were a number of White liberals in the NAACP, however the organization became a Black parallel system to the liberal White system of power distribution. Thus it can be concluded that NACCP brought the African into the main stream movements helping in projecting the issues that African American were facing in the White majority through protests paving the way for future civil right movement in the 1960s.
Gilbert Jonas, Freedom’s Sword: The NAACP and the Struggle against Racism in America. Routledge, 2005.
NAACP Org, “History.” 6 May 2007 ;http://www.naacp.org/about/history/index.htm;.