National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909. Among those involved were prominent African Americans W.E.B. DuBois and Ida Wells-Barnett. The organization was an outgrowth of DuBois's Niagara Movement, which sought to improve African-American rights at least partly through increased educational opportunities for blacks. The main goals of the NAACP were an end to segregation, equal civil rights under the law, and the end of racial violence such as lynchings. From its early years, the NAACP used the court system to challenge laws that denied African Americans their civil rights.
The NAACP expanded during World War II. Many new chapters were formed and overall membership grew. The organization pushed for an end to discrimination at home even as African Americans still served in segregated military units. The NAACP's growth during the war gave it momentum in the struggle for civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s. The organization won an important decision in Brown v. the Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas (1954). The Supreme Court of the United States declared segregation of public schools to be unconstitutional. Working with other civil rights groups, including the Congress on Racial Equality, the NAACP pushed for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and other types of similar legislation.
The NAACP was very active in Ohio from the organization's early beginnings. The Cleveland chapter became the sixth largest in the country by the end of World War II. Ohio NAACP chapters supported the national organization's attempts to obtain passage of a federal anti-lynching law and to end segregation in Ohio. Many women were involved in the Ohio chapters of the NAACP and often served in positions of leadership. In the 1960s, the NAACP in Ohio continued to seek the desegregation of the public schools in the major cities of the state.
The NAACP continues today to work through the courts, education, economic boycotts, and other peaceful means of obtaining its goals.
- Gilbert, Jonas. Freedom's Sword: The NAACP and the Struggle Against Racism in America, 1909-1969. New York, NY: Routledge, 2005.
- Kellogg, Charles Flint. NAACP: A History of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1967.