NAACP Celebrates its Centennial

1909. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is founded in New York City on June 1. Notable founders include W.E.B. Du Bois, Mary White Ovington, William English Walling and Oswald Garrison Villard.?

1910. W.E.B. Du Bois, director of publicity and research, is named editor of the newly launched The Crisis magazine.

1915.The NAACP campaigns against the film The Birth of a Nation, in which Black Americans, portrayed by whites in blackface, are depicted as woefully inept.?

1917. Led by Joel Spingarn, the NAACP forces the War Department to provide a training camp for Black officers. Du Bois publishes his ?Close Ranks? editorial, asking Black America to set aside its social and political complaints until after the war.

1920. Du Bois is presented the sixth Spingarn Medal on the campus of Atlanta University where the annual conference was held.

The NAACP retains noted lawyer Clarence Darrow to represent Ossian Sweet, M.D., and his family. After the Sweet family moved into an all-white neighborhood on the east side of Detroit, a white mob attacked their home and one member of the group was killed during the shoot-out.

1931. Nine Black youths are charged with raping two white girls on a train. The NAACP once again retains Clarence Darrow, but Darrow and his team withdraw from the case after conflicts arise between the NAACP and the Communist Party.
1938. Thurgood Marshall is appointed special counsel after Charles Hamilton Houston returns to private practice. James Weldon Johnson, the first African-American executive director of the NAACP, dies in June after a train strikes his car.??

1941. Walter White, who succeeded James Weldon Johnson as executive secretary of the NAACP, joins A. Philip Randolph in a meeting at the White House to discuss the threatened march on Washington to protest employment discrimination against Black workers in the nation?s war plants.

Du Bois and White are among the dignitaries in San Francisco during the founding of the United Nations. They demand the abolishment of the colonial system and the equality of all races.
1950. Clarence Mitchell is appointed director of the Washington bureau of the NAACP. The Supreme Court rules that the University of Oklahoma cannot segregate students in their graduate schools once they have been admitted.

1954. The Supreme Court hands down its landmark decision in Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, overturning the separate-but-equal doctrine.???

1955. The NAACP is actively involved in the Montgomery Bus Boycott through such tacticians as E.D. Nixon, president of the organization?s local branch.

1957. Daisy Bates and her husband, leaders of the Little Rock, Ark., branch of the NAACP, steadfastly support the nine Black students who integrate Little Rock?s Central High School.

1960. Young members of the NAACP are among students at the forefront of the sit-in movement in Greensboro, N.C., to protest segregated restaurants.

1963. Without the formidable role of the NAACP, the historic March on Washington would have been far less successful. The year is marred by the assassination of Mississippi leader Medgar Evers and Du Bois?s death at 95 in Ghana on the eve of the march.

1965. The Voting Rights Act is spurred along by the relentless dedication of the NAACP?s Washington bureau, headed by Clarence Mitchell.

1968. Passage of the Fair Housing Act is another feather in the cap of the Washington bureau of the NAACP. It helps to salve the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

1974. Boston becomes a flashpoint when a judge decrees the first phase of busing to integrate the school system. Executive Director Roy Wilkins, General Counsel Nathaniel Jones and Branch President Thomas Atkins are in the vanguard of the struggle to ensure cross-districting busing.

1980. One day after the May 17 riot in Miami, Benjamin Hooks, NAACP executive director, conducts a tour of the city with his staff to see what can be done to heal the wounds and bring about peace among the area?s three major ethnic groups.

1985. In February, the NAACP?s national board votes to purchase a national headquarters building in Baltimore.

The NAACP assembles more than 400 demonstrators for a march through downtown Los Angeles, airing their grievances about drugs and violence in the country.

1995. Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of Medgar Evers, is elected chairman of the board of the NAACP.

2000. More than 50,000 march in Columbia, S.C., protesting the flying of the Confederate flag. The NAACP coordinates the march, the largest civil-rights demonstration in the South.

2003. The NAACP calls for the reopening of the Emmett Till murder case. Till, 14, was brutally killed in Money, Miss. Two white men later confess to the killing.?

2007. Outraged that a Black youth is unfairly tried and convicted as an adult and that five others face unjust treatment following a fight with white youths in Jena, La., the NAACP presents a petition of more than 60,000 names to the governor. The state?s Third Court of Appeals reverses the charges against the youth.

2008. Benjamin Todd Jealous is named president and CEO of the NAACP. Now, at 36, he is the youngest to ever hold the positions.

2009. Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP board, receives the Spingarn Medal. The organization?s centennial is
celebrated at the annual convention in New York City.